Category Archives: Business

Aussie E-Commerce Industry Needs Work According To Survey

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Online shopping and courier services are pretty much attached at the hip, something that many of the interstate couriers in Melbourne and across the country can attest to.

Couriers Please, an Aussie courier company that handles interstate couriers in Melbourne and across the country, recently commissioned a survey on the matter. The company asked for a survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1021 Aussies who have shopped online at least three times within a six month time period, in order to see what they thought of the country’s e-commerce  industry.

According to the survey’s results, a lot of Aussies think that the e-commerce market has some improvements to make before they opt to rely on it more. The answers by the respondents range from more flexible delivery options, to better return policies and sizing guides, among other suggestions.

About three in every four respondents (74%), stated that they would expect online retailers to offer free returns on their items in order to get them to consider shopping online exclusively, while about 65% of the respondents believe that the retailers should allow them to return or swap any items, even sale items, should they find the need to.

Many online retailers still enforce the ‘no returns on sale items’ policy, nor do they provide refunds or compensation for faulty items that they have highlighted.

Other improvements the respondents have stated they want from online retailers were better sizing guides and clearer product images on sites, both with 57% of respondents choosing them, as well as more flexible delivery options, chosen by 44% of the respondents.

Few shoppers were concerned about online security and the need for better payment options, with 33% and 24% of respondents, respectively, choosing these options as a necessary improvement.

Notably, only 6% of the respondents stated that they were completely content with their online shopping experience and believed that nothing actually needed changing.

CP CEO Mark McGinley said that with more Aussies willing to opt for online shopping, it’s important that courier companies, interstate couriers in Melbourne and online retailers listen to their feedback in order to help enhance their e-commerce experience.

Chiang Mai’s Hotels Up For Sale As Chinese Tourism Declines

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Many properties in Thailand, like the Novotel in Bangkok, are still very much enjoying strength of the tourism industry, but that has taken a bit of a hit recently as the industry confronts the idea that Chinese tourism to the country might hit a long decline.

Official data published early November revealed that the number of Chinese tourists heading to Thailand dropped by 8.8% in the third quarter of 2018, contributing to the economy’s growing slower than what was forecasted. Chinese tourists account for about one-third of all visits to the country, but they have been put off by the recent incidents that plagued the country, which include a deadly ferry accident that left 46 people dead.

While properties like the Novotel in Bangkok stay strong, smaller properties in the city of Chiang Mai, one of the more popular destinations in the country, have been hit hard. Property agents in the area now say that they’re having to deal with these properties being put up for sale as the downturn affects the smaller businesses the most.

More than 10 real estate sites for Chiang Mai properties have hotels in their listings, with many boutique hotels that recently shut down are offered at prices ranging from Bt50m (US$1.52), down to even a few million.

The sharp decline in Chinese visitors followed the capsizing incident in Phuket back in July, with most of the fatalities being Chinese tourists. Following that is a viral video of a Thai security guard slapping a Chinese tourists in the Don Mueang International Airport in September.

Tourism and its related industries account for 30% to 30% of Thailand’s GDP. The number of Chinese visitors to the country dropped by 0.9% in July, then 11% in August, and another 15% in September, slashing revenues.

Hotels and restaurants in famous Thai destinations like Phuket and Chiang Mai have suffered declines as the number of Chinese tourists have halved on the year since July, according to President Ittirit Kinglake, of the Tourism Council of Thailand.

Even airlines have felt the effects, with national carrier Thai Airways logging a third-quarter net loss twice as big as the preceding year. CEO SumethDamgrongchaitham looked to the decline in Chinese passengers for the 3.7 billion baht loss, as well as the major storms that hit Japan and Hong Kong, which cut off flights to these particularly routes.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has not revised 2018’s targets of 38 million arrivals and 3 billion baht in revenue despite the drop in Chinese arrivals.

Recently, the Thai cabinet also approved the waiving of a 2,000-baht VISA fee paid by travellers upon arrival from 21 places, which include mainland China, taking effect from December to January. This fee waiving is part of the TAT’s efforts to bring in more tourists into the country.

However, most operators in the tourism industry say that the VISA discount is not likely to completely restore the Chinese arrivals to initial forecasted by the end of 2018, which is normally the peak season for the industry.

Assuring Your Financial Literacy

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The financial wellness expert, Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis, teaches people on how to handle and balance their checkbook, create a household budget, and plan for retirement. One needs to view money as a useful tool to help with the expenses. To get you started, below is a list of tips you can journey towards financial literacy.

  • Know Where to Start

If you have no idea where you are financially, it may be difficult to plan where you want to be in the succeeding years.You need to know your starting point, so you’ll find financial wellness in the future. Calculate your net worth, so you know how to progress in time. You need to know your net worth to be on the right track.

  • Set Your Priorities

Ensure you prioritize your needs and wants by creating a list. Needs are something you need to survive such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation and healthcare. Wants are something you like to own but are not necessarily important. Most people spend so much on what they want and don’t have enough for their needs. To ensure financial wellness, rank what you need and want, so you never run out of money.

  • Write Your Spending

Many people can tell you how much money they can make for a year, but not everyone tells you how much they spent. Fewer people don’t even know how and where they spent their money. To ensure you figure out your cash flow, create a budget or a plan on how to spend your money. If you do this, you ensure what you earn are used to buy things that you need.

  • Pay Your Debt

Almost all people have all sorts of debts. What makes them drowned with debts is not paying regularly. Their income is insufficient to pay for their needs, plus, there is compounded interest and other fees involved. This then will make you emotionally drained and don’t know what to do. To ensure you have good debts, learn to pay them well and never go beyond your means.

  • Secure Your Future

To ensure you have a happy retirement, invest in a retirement plan or save some money to spend when you are no longer capable to work. Ask Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis for advice on how to prepare you for your future.

Finance

Windscreen Replacement Firms Fighting To Keep Up With New Tech

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From mechanics to auto glass mobile replacement, windscreen replacement companies are spending millions in order to keep up with the latest in vehicle tech; with funding going into the needed tools and training for the proper recalibration of screen-based car safety systems, which are becoming more and more commonplace.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), like autonomous emergency braking, are typically reliant on windshield-mounted cameras in order to operate. The problem being that, when the windshield is taken for auto glass mobile replacement, they require recalibration, as they might not be able to function properly, if at all.

In the UK, about 1% of vehicles require recalibration after a windscreen replacement back in 2015, but the number has since gone up to 9% for privately-owned vehicles and 34% for fleet vehicles, the latter due to being newer.

To deal with the matter, several companies are pouring funds into calibration-related developments. National Windscreen recently invested £2 million in ADAS recalibration, while Autoglass will be launching 14 new calibration centres, on top of 70 of its workshops having calibration capability by December.

Head of Technical Superiority Belron, Autoglass’s parent company, Dr. Chris Davies explained that recalibration is required because of natural tolerance issues with glass manufacturing, which tends to reposition the cameras when a new windscreen is put in place. If the camera isn’t recalibrated it jeopardizes the safety of the customer.

Most models require ‘static’ calibration, which can be done in a workshop, while others require ‘dynamic’ calibration on the road. Both types require properly trained technicians, but the latter is much more difficult.

Davies explains that, for dynamic calibration, the vehicle must travel at a certain speed for a certain amount of time, which can be problematic in the busy UK roads, or at certain times of the year, like in winter.

He also warns that smaller windscreen companies might have trouble keeping up with technological developments, with the challenge being understanding what vehicle has what ADAS system fitted to it.

Autoglass is a major company with plenty of manpower, but Davies warns that, for small organization or a one-man band, asking how will they keep up with the latest technology, and the latest methods.

Phuket Hotels Unite To Save The Island From Plastic And Overtourism

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Every few weeks, a new luxury hotel in Phuket opens, a sign of the booming tourism industry in the island and the country. That same tourism industry, however, brings plastic and pollution, so much of it, that hoteliers on the island have banded together to fight back.

Today, many of the island’s shores are packed with tourists and their trash, particularly during high season. Trash like plastic bags are now floating in the ocean, which has lead to huge efforts to conserve the island’s marine life and natural beauty that were responsible for bringing in tourists in the first place.

Trisara Managing Director and President of the Phuket Hotel Association Anthony Lark, came to the island 31 years ago, opening one of the earliest luxury hotel in Phuket, and he described the island as the quiet, deserted and pristine.

The negative impact brought on by mass tourism across the world have been making headlines in recent years. Back in 2017, people living in Barcelona and Venice had enough and took to the streets to protest against mass tourism.

In Southeast Asia, tourism has also been felt. Officials were recently forced to close the Maya beach indefinitely to visitors. The bay, which became popular thanks to the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach, was closed in June for four months thanks to environmental damage brought in by tourism. The hope was that the ecosystem should’ve recovered, but a government survey noted that the damage was actually worse than originally thought.

To fight back against the pollution, the Phuket Hotel Association and its members have banded together in order to cut down on their island as one of the few first steps to conserve and preserve Phuket. Educational programmes with local communities, as well as campaigns promoting responsible tourism are being rolled out.

All of the members of the PHA have also agreed to phase out single-use plastic and implement plans in order to stop the use of plastic water bottles and straws by 2019. Lark’s 40-villa resort used to send approximately 250,000 plastic bottles to landfills, but, now, the resort now uses reusable glass bottles.

IHG Director of Corporate Responsibility for Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Greater China, Michael Blanding, says that the discussions are already ongoing and never-ending, but someone has to start somewhere.

 

 

Reasons Why Homeowners Must Splurge On Splashbacks

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When it comes to choosing a kitchen splashback, it is better to splurge than skimp. Custom cabinets, snazzy appliances and a well-equipped island are the pride of homeowners but what will likely catch the attention of visitors is the small stretch of wall above the sink that is more popularly known as the splashback. Do not miss on the opportunity to make a grand statement through kitchen splashback tiles mosaic in different colours and patterns.

In most kitchens, the splashback is the integral key to overall aesthetics. According to Alissa Bennett, design manager of Kolter Homes in Florida, the prime location of the splashback must incorporate something that is unique and fun. Aside from enhancing aesthetics, the splashback serves a functional purpose like protecting kitchen walls from dirt and stains.

Meanwhile, David Yowell of David Yowell Construction in McKinney, Texas suggests that splashbacks must complement the countertops and add colour, depth and beauty to a room. The easily washable surface will ensure that the kitchen looks cleaner.

According to Houzz Kitchen trends study that was published this year, it was revealed that 9 out of 10 homeowners who have undertaken kitchen renovations have upgraded their splashbacks. In 2017, the most popular colours were white, multicoloured and gray. White splashbacks are more likely to appear in kitchens of baby boomers as well as millennials.

However, other homeowners prefer ceramic, porcelain or glass tiles including natural stone like marble, travertine, granite or quartz. Others go for kitchen splashback tiles mosaic that is more colourful and prominent.

The two more popular splashback trends for 2018 include the scalloped or fish-scale pattern tile that offers more movement and a little more interest than the traditional rectangular tile and the splashback that looks like wallpaper sans the paper. There are elaborate patterns that are durable enough to withstand detergents.

Many homeowners are also moving from natural stone to the brightly coloured kitchen splashback tiles mosaic that looks beautiful and realistic. The design is perfect for homeowners who desire texture and patterns that will contrast with the simplicity of the countertop surfaces. Furthermore, the mosaic maintains a classic and trendy look that will not date very quickly.

Expat Students Turning To Tuition Centers

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All over the world, Singapore has been tagged as the tuition nation. In fact, surveys have shown that parents and students are spending around $1.1 billion annually enrolled in home tuition Singapore which is not surprising at all. This so-called tuition bug used to affect only the local students and parents but latest reports indicate that even international students now have tuition too.

According to different tuition agencies and centers in the country, they have seen rapid growth in the number of expat students enrolled in international schools that are going to them looking for help as they are about to their exams for International General Certificate of Secondary Education or their IB which stands for International Baccalaureate.

In an interview with the founder of a tuition agency, Mr. Rum Tan, he said that in 2014 less than 50 expat students have been enrolled in the programs in his agency. Their number is not even 5 per cent of the total number of students they have.

The exponential increase was noted starting January of 2017 until October of the same year when the number of expat students they have assigned for private tutoring reaches almost a thousand. Now their total number makes up 20 per cent of the entire client population of the tuition agency.

Majority of these expat students are from Australia and Britain and they are enrolled in schools such as Tanglin Trust Schoo, United World College South East Asia and Anglo-Chinese School which is an independent school.

A number of tuition centers and agencies have also reported that they have seen a sudden increase in the number of their expat students. The trend of supplementing regular schooling with tuition stems from the fact that there is stiff competition from the students. Both locals and expats are vying for slots in schools as well as to be able to apply in the universities they want.

These reasons alone are what drive the tuition bug even to international students. The sentiments of home tuition Singapore is that there is not enough time spent in school in order for the students to learn what they need to.