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Team or Enterprise. Premium FT. Pay based on use. Group Subscription. All the benefits of Premium Digital plus: Convenient access for groups of users Integration with third party platforms and CRM systems Usage based pricing and volume discounts for multiple users Subscription management tools and usage reporting SAML-based single sign on SSO Dedicated account and customer success teams. Learn more and compare subscriptions. Or, if you are already a subscriber Sign in. There are indications that there is a gap between the skills required for some of these jobs and those who are looking for jobs, with severe shortages in specific areas and wider shortages in some types of skills.

While much has been said and written about meeting the needs of Millennials, and, more recently, Gen Z-ers in the workforce, the reality is that a significant proportion of the workforce is older than either of these cohorts. Overall, efforts for reskilling in most countries, both public and private, are not at the level, scale and quality needed to address the talent war and skills mismatch, according to the WEF. This is a significant moment for workplace learning. Work in the decades ahead may no longer mean what it used to, but learning will no longer be the same either.

Learning organisations must adapt, change and work to a model of agility to help their businesses survive, perform and succeed in this next wave of the fourth industrial revolution. If you would like to discuss any of the insights in this piece with our consultants, email info intuition. Part 1: preview. Antitrust regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have been breaking hearts lately. According to reports, the DOJ is concerned that the tie-up would hurt consumers, especially the rural and low-income consumers who rely on prepaid service — together, T-Mobile and Sprint dominate the prepaid market.

Antitrust regulators have a difficult task. They must predict — often with scanty evidence — how a merger or acquisition will affect consumers, both in terms of price and its impact on innovation. Occidental has long vied with Chevron for domination of the Permian, and with this deal, it looks set to take the lead in the region. Anadarko owns about , acres in the Permian and has identified 10, potential drill sites, which are generally expected to be highly productive and profitable.

Admittedly, the deal is by no means a sure thing. Anadarko shareholders also have yet to have their say. Nevertheless, it looks likely that the next big hurdle for the deal will be regulatory approval. On this score, the Occidental deal enjoys some advantages. When it comes to antitrust regulation, anything can happen. We look at new trends coming in, and previous trends growing or declining, and at what they mean for how we support our clients in equipping their workforces with the skills they need.

The pace of change is so fast, technological advancements so rapid and the buzz about the latest new thing often so loud that it becomes difficult to separate the noise from the significant news, the fads from the trends that are here to stay. What is clear, however, is that there is one important area of change that is gathering pace like never before, that is: how we go about doing business. As c hanges to the way we work gather pace at an unparalleled rate, with them, workplace learning faces an unprecedented level of disruption.

In our new series, Trends The Future of Workplace Learning , we look at the trends that are driving corporate learning. The key forces of AI, Automation and Analytics continue and indeed up the pace of driving change in how people work, calling for new skillsets, changing the nature of jobs and shaping the nature of learning. Against this backdrop, we cover the most important trends that we see driving the shape of corporate learning in the coming year:.

With learners placed firmly at the centre, the drive to personalization has accelerated in the last year. Once upon a time, learning professionals spoke of metrics such as learning engagement, impact and, most important of all, measurable ROI. In many ways, these were the grail of learning and, to be blunt, like the grail they often evaded being witnessed.

Organizations and workers are realising the benefits for sharing, contributing, knowledge exchange and development through channels specially designed for social collaboration and learning in a corporate context. Voice is emerging as a new medium, with far-reaching implications for how we engage in and experience work and learning. Increasingly used in a wide array of devices and gadgets, we look at the potential of voice and what the voice experience could bring to workplace learning and performance support.

Some technologies that were young or adolescent last year are starting to move towards maturity. Others may be emerging from a niche application to more mainstream training domains where their potential to improve learning and learning outcomes is being increasingly recognised, and their availability and cost-effectiveness make them more attainable. Amongst them:. Work in the decades ahead may no longer mean what it used to, and learning will no longer be the same either.

It is hard to predict what the decade ahead may look like but it is time to kickstart your thinking now. We believe the future will be customer centred and experience centred. Learning will not just be about learning new things and skills, it will be about learning new ways of thinking , new ways of being and above all of nurturing our ability to learn and re-skill constantly. Firms are planning for a digital future, when the world of work will be unpredictable. While many see the implementation of new technologies as a vital competitive advantage, we believe people make the real difference.

But if people lack the right mindset to change and the current organizational practices are flawed, digital transformation will simply magnify those flaws. While the reskilling of existing staff represents the largest immediate obstacle to overcome , the methods by which firms approach new talent acquisition will have a major bearing on whether their existing culture and practices are reinforced or superseded in the coming years.

Financial firms have long held a monopoly over the recruitment of the best and brightest at source. The prestige of Wall Street or the City coupled with high wages has for generations lured Oxbridge and Ivy League graduates. Today, the landscape has changed, and banking attraction and retention rates are suffering more than any time in living memory.

Even after fending off competition for recruits, the reality of hour weeks and prescriptive career tracks means graduates are finding themselves drawn to alternative sectors such as technology or Fintech. Broadly speaking, we believe it comes down to an acceptance of a new reality and a determination to bridge the gaps that are at the root of the problem. People quickly form opinions about the company they have joined. Most of the reasons for leaving stem from a misalignment between what the employee was expecting and the reality of life at the company.

The effect is even more pronounced for millennials and Gen Z who are, more so than any previous generation, seeking more than just a paycheck. For these reasons, it is crucial that the onboarding process for new hires is not only a positive experience, but one that creates a sense of belonging and dispels the myth that working at a bank and making a valuable contribution to society have to trade off.

There is much finger-pointing between firms and universities about who exactly is to blame for a widening gap between campus and corporate life. With the shelf-life of university-acquired skills now reduced to just five years, there are real questions being asked about the validity of some university degrees, not just from debt-ridden students but also from employers. In the future, banks will be increasingly reliant on a core of permanent personnel who will not only need the hard skills to perform in their role but the broader soft skills necessary to effect change.

On the flipside, it means that banks will increasingly need to get better at training specialised, and often contracted, staff more quickly and more often. This means banks must get better at prioritising investment in different areas and on different skills. In the digital era, sheep-dipping must go the way of the dodo. Since the dawn of time, firms have tried to strike the right balance between growth and profitability but in the past ten years, a singular approach to profitability has dominated the strategies of most financial institutions amid a weaker trading environment.

In the intervening decade as banks indulged in navel-gazing, star-gazing competitors have exploded onto the scene to steal market share and syphon off would-be banking talent all at once. As a result, graduate programmes have favoured shorter, more-intense bootcamps focused on drilling recruits for survival on the front line.

Unsurprisingly, army analogies have done nothing to dispel graduates perception of themselves as banking fodder. Gen Z, having grown up in the aftermath of the financial crisis, are more attuned to the impermanence of work than perhaps any other generation. As a result, they value lifelong learning and are attracted to firms who offer the opportunity to skill and reskill as standard. Bootcamps might serve the business in the short term but if banks want to retain staff over the long haul, they will need to get better at outlining what career development looks like and what lifelong learning means beyond buzzwords.

The workforce is transforming, and we must consider how roles are being displaced and which roles will emerge as a critical priority for business. Financial services firms are struggling to attract and retain quality candidates. Couple this with the pace of emerging skills gaps, and organisations are under enormous pressure. For digital transformation to be a success, firms must rethink talent as a strategic priority.

Download our backpack to briefcase guide to ease the transition to a new world of work. Here are three big ideas from educational science to improve your ability to learn. If the bad news is that many people are inefficient learners; the good news is that this ability can be upgraded. Through brain imaging techniques, neuroscience has shown that brains have the ability to form neuronal connections constantly throughout our lives — this is called neuroplasticity. Learning is ongoing and life-long. TIP 1 : Tap into neuroplasticity and awaken a love of learning by deciding to learn something new every day: new vocabulary, a new language, a new instrument, or a new physical activity.

The more you learn, the more neural connections your brain forms, and the more you will be able to learn. TIP 2 : Mix it up. Tip 3: Embrace Forgetting. Many people see forgetting as the enemy of learning, when in fact it is quite the contrary. Forgetting is natural and good. We can use forgetting as an active learning device. Follow every piece of learning with a retrieval moment. Retrieval is an active learning method that is often overlooked and seen as a chore.

Use your ability to forget as a clever tool to springboard your learning: test yourself constantly. You may literally be developing a superpower, the L2L superpower, perhaps the superpower needed to survive and thrive in the 21 st century. Upgrade your learning power.

Start now. Brown, Henry L. McDaniel Every organization in the world is undergoing rapid change. Digital transformation, driven by artificial intelligence AI and automation, has brought changes to the nature of the very jobs we do, and how and where we do them. It is even changing who does the work — humans, robots, or co-bots. The division of labour between humans, machines, and AI is shifting quickly. As millions of workers switch occupations in response to digital transformation, the skills they need will shift.

Recent reports on changing skills requirements highlight two areas: technology skills and social and emotional skills. Both will be in high demand in the years ahead. While demand for technology skills may seem obvious, social and emotional skills, or soft skills, as they are often called, may be equally critical. Jobs demanding soft skills are predicted to grow in many industries — customer service, sales and marketing, and innovation, for example. However, one soft skill may in fact underpin all other skills needed.

This is the ability to learn continuously , we call it Learn to Learn L2L. We believe it may be the vital skill for a 21 st -century workforce. While some attempt the challenging task of predicting what jobs will emerge or vanish in the future, we believe that one essential quality people must cultivate, whatever the emerging job landscape, is an adaptable and continuous learning mindset. So, what is the ability to learn and why is it a misunderstood and underappreciated aptitude? Learning forms a huge part of what humans do. As children, we learn to walk and talk automatically, we master a range of physical activities with relative ease, and with luck and health, we continue to learn throughout our lifetime.

We learn to read and write, we acquire social skills such as communication, negotiation, and leadership, and so thrive across the spectrum of activities, cognitive and physical, that make up our personal and work lives. With time, we move into different careers, acquiring different and new domains of knowledge, progressing from novice to master to expert skill proficiency in our chosen fields. Our learning, however, the very engine of our progress, may not always be trouble-free.

It may not even be highly effective. The difficult truth is that not everyone is a successful learner. This is not a radical idea. After all, at a biological level, there is still a mystery around how we learn. Thankfully, the science of learning is a well-researched and rich area and has recently been expanded by newer areas of research like neuroscience.

These disciplines explore areas like attention, memory, and learning, including how and where learning happens within the brain. This makes them important research fields for those of us involved in teaching and learning to monitor and track. So, what makes a good learner?

And as learners, are we any good at predicting how well we learn? Are we overly optimistic about how much we remember after learning? Research indicates that we may well be overconfident of the effectiveness of our learning strategies. Many of us, for example, erroneously believe that studying materials in chunks and then rereading it will help us remember it, or that slow and laborious learning is not successful. In fact, cognitive psychologists have carried out many experiments in the last few decades that shed light on the most effective learning strategies.

Some of them might surprise you and may even contradict popular thinking about how we learn. Under US President Donald Trump, federal agencies have implemented a broad program of financial deregulation. New measures have limited the number of banks deemed systemically important and freed the de-designated banks from the need to undergo stress tests or submit insolvency plans. These measures have helped boost bank profitability. Some, however, worry this deregulation agenda may create new risks. The CCB is a mechanism introduced by Basel III to require banks to increase their capital reserves during periods of strong economic growth so that they are adequately capitalized when the economic cycle turns.

As the US enters the tenth year of its economic recovery — now one of the longest in US history — some have suggested that the Fed should activate the CCB to encourage banks to increase capital ahead of an inevitable downturn. According to Quarles, then, the Fed sees no sign of a potential slowdown in the coming years and, thus, no need to require banks to build up their reserves. However, the Fed also voted in March to hold interest rates steady and announced it would be slowing the process of unwinding its sizeable balance sheet, with the goal of ending the unwinding entirely in September.

The Fed also released projections for the upcoming year, cutting its growth forecast to 1. Some critics have pointed out that the CCB is intended for exactly such periods of economic uncertainty. During positive economic times, as risks develop under the surface, regulators should strengthen financial safeguards to bolster the banking system in advance of the next economic downturn. Now is the time for regulators to enhance the resiliency of the banking sector.

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History shows that financial services regulation is cyclical. During times of financial crisis and recession, regulators enact new rules addressing the weaknesses that caused the crisis. Then, during expansions, complacency sets in and regulatory frameworks are dismantled until a new financial vulnerability ignites a new crisis. As the US recovery continues, many believe that banks have put the errors of the past behind them and are on a firm footing, justifying further deregulation and monetary accommodation. Others worry that we are witnessing the complacency that precedes a fresh crisis.

Developments over the next eighteen months may offer some clarity about who is correct. In April, the markets welcomed social media site Pinterest. Other tech unicorn IPOs in the pipeline for include ride-hailing company Uber, data mining company Palantir, coworking giant WeWork, and workplace messaging service Slack. However, the initial optimism about Lyft seemed to sour after a few days. Facebook, for example, traded below its IPO price for well over a year after listing.

This contrast between the performance of the two IPOs suggests that investors may not be as indifferent to profitability as the Lyft IPO initially indicated. Now, some are wondering if the Uber IPO will live up to the hype. With such large losses and slowing growth, some question whether Uber can sustain its lofty private valuation once publicly listed. Questions have also been raised about the fate of other loss-making unicorns like Palantir and Airbnb. As private companies, neither of these have reported financial statements.

However, both are reportedly unprofitable. And both are planning to list this year. With investors potentially wary of unprofitable businesses, their anticipated valuations may be lower than their private equity owners and founders hope. Despite concerns about potential pricing weakness, the tech IPO bonanza is widely seen as a positive sign for US stock markets.

The IPO market started the year on a weak note, particularly in Europe. Intuition Know-How has a number of tutorials that are relevant to IPOs and equity markets, including:. European banks and firms that use or trade derivatives are facing an unusual degree of uncertainty.

At the same time, in the face of continuing Brexit-related uncertainties, the future of London as the preeminent clearing location for euro financial transactions is in question. It imposes reporting requirements for derivatives contracts and lays out rules for counterparties and trade repositories TRs. It also outlines various risk mitigation techniques, the most notable being the clearing obligation that requires that certain types of derivatives to be centrally cleared. However, on February 5, authorities announced they had achieved political agreement on the final shape of the revised rules.

Market participants are hopeful that the revised rules will come into force over the summer. However, the delay has raised some important concerns. Many industry players are concerned that the new rules will only come into force after June 21, which is the date on which some of the existing rules will kick in. Under the Refit, they are likely to be designated SFCs and exempted from the clearing obligation. But due to the delay, they would theoretically have to develop infrastructure and processes to start clearing on June 21, even though they will not have to clear their transactions after the new rules come into force.

Second, under current rules firms had to backload reporting for their older trades from February, although the obligation to do so will disappear under the new rules. The European Securities and Markets Authority ESMA has addressed these issues by encouraging national competent authorities not to prioritize enforcing provisions which are scheduled to be changed.

However, uncertainties will remain until the rules are formally in place. There are various short-term agreements in place. This should give markets time to adapt and, if necessary, European firms time to move their clearing business from London to other financial centers. If the UK leaves with a deal in place, there are provisions for handling regulation and oversight going forward. However, there are still uncertainties. In short, all swap counterparties currently face an uncertain future.

It is a sign that the US banking industry has emerged from a difficult decade and underscores the growing importance of scale in a business increasingly dominated by a handful of giants. SunTrust shareholders will receive 1.

“June 2020 is a good 18 months away… do I really need to move now?”

The deal is priced at a 7 percent premium to the SunTrust share price. For the US banking industry, the deal has been perceived as a healthy sign. During the global financial crisis, a number of financial entities merged under pressure. Regulators quickly approved deals that were seen as vital to sustaining the financial system and preventing collapse.

But in the wake of the crisis, deal-making dried up almost entirely. Banks found themselves hamstrung by new regulations and their already-battered balance sheets were not capable of financing major deals. Under President Donald Trump, banking regulations have been scaled back. In , for example, Trump signed a partial repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition to other changes, the new rules raised the asset threshold at which banks become subject to closer regulatory scrutiny.

Historically, regional banks were attractive to locals looking for a long-term relationship with a banking team. Today, however, consumers, especially young consumers in urban areas earning higher incomes, are increasingly attracted to large national banks that offer sophisticated digital services. As more and more banking activity takes place online, the local branch appeal of regional banks is waning and they are losing ground in consumer lending and transactional banking. At the same time, the competitive field is becoming increasingly crowded.

Premier investment bank Goldman Sachs,for example, entered the mass retail market in with its Marcus online lending tool and an instant access GS Bank savings account. However, some observers note that much of the damage of the financial crisis stemmed from problems in large institutions. As certain banking activities became concentrated in the hands of a small number of global giants, the risks posed by their failure grew, until these entities became too big to fail and taxpayers were forced to bail them out to avoid economic collapse. Intuition Know-How has a number of tutorials that are relevant to mergers and acquisitions:.

Many Intuition employees attended the event as a professional development exercise, attending a number of talks and speaking to others in the employee education industry.

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With employees and upper-management sometimes questioning the value of these initiatives, specific strategies must be implemented to change the learning culture of an organization. One interesting mode of attack around this challenge is the implementation of marketing principles to the internal communications around learning strategy. The person tasked with knowledge development in the company is unlikely to have a marketing background, but the science of communication is both easily understood and applied to different concepts. The first model, which can be seen below, is a derivative of a standard marketing model used to find members of a target market and turn them into reoccurring customers.

Applying this to internal initiatives is simple. Instead of a marketeer pushing a specific campaign to a specific target market, a knowledge development professional will push the strategy to the members of the organization who need it. This can be done by communicating the value of learning along with ensuring people know how to access the solution. This can be done through follow-up emails and conversations. At this stage, ROI needs to be measured. Hopefully, the value of the learning solution has been recognized at this point and those who are using it are speaking to their peers and encouraging them to use the resource.

At the conference, there was a huge push on creative delivery methods. Fully immersive learning experiences such as virtual and artificial reality were promoted by many exhibitors. Learning Technologies Virtual Reality. Being able to bake in these forms of delivery seems to have huge importance in the industry, and rightly so. If content can be delivered effectively in an immersive fashion, the learning experience is bound to be more engaging.

The issue centers around the pairing of content and context. Ongoing employee education is becoming a greater priority for organizations, and as a result, there is more emphasis being put on effective implementation and development. One talk explored scientific principles around learning. Specifically, the role neuroscience can play in retention of information.

The talk described the role emotions can play. Our brains can only retain so much information and as a result, must filter through our experiences and cherry-pick the ones we should keep and get rid of the rest. One way to do this is through emotive connections. Our brain is far more likely to remember experiences with strong emotions attached. For example, if something happens which evokes fear, the brain sees this as an important event to remember as if it happens again, it will know how to react.

Statistically, we are twice as upset when we lose something than we are when we gain the same thing. For example, on a scale of to 10, when we gain something our happiness level could be 3. If we lose the same thing, our sadness level will be The speakers applied this example to gamification. Yet again, an interesting method of delivery, but is it effective? The speakers questioned the relevance of a game if there was no consequence to losing. Quizzes at the end of a module is a common example of gamification, but if the learner gets all the questions wrong and can still progress on to the next module, is it really a game?

Fosway use a five-dimensional market analysis model to understand the relative position of solutions and providers in the learning and talent systems market. The report discovered interesting information in relation to the digital learning landscape. An in-depth analysis of the market found 6 significant findings:. Solutions continue to evolve, making the marketplace difficult to navigate. Traditional tools are competing against emerging delivery channels leaving buyers overwhelmed.

Given the evolving complexity of available solutions, the need for cross-partnering across solutions has increased. Manageable, connected and compatible solutions are in demand and must be met by learning providers. A result of this finding is the need for robust partnerships between solution providers. Isolated operations are decreasing as suppliers combine to provide exciting and complex learning systems, capable of meeting varied needs.

A dynamic learning landscape is in demand, as buyers utilise multiple learning avenues to gain a competitive edge. While traditional learning is still used, more organizations are diversifying their delivery channels to meet the varying needs of employees. This has resulted in broadened solutions serving content, platform and consulting needs. More content options have led to a disruptive marketplace, giving buyers a greater scope and combination of solutions to choose from.

Coupled with cost-efficient methods of accessing expertise, the market is now broader than ever. Add to this the flexibility of communication and access to resources and projects results in new trends and an evolving digital learning space. Suppliers previously focused on traditional delivery methods are beginning to enter the digital market.

Unable to ignore its importance, the rise of entry from face-to-face learning providers to the modern market has steadily increased. With some providers going through acquisitions, many have built internal digital capabilities and are looking to compete with market leaders. Talent acquisition remains a priority among top competitors in various industries. Learning as an employee benefit is an emerging theme and being given greater importance. Learning and development has become a differentiator companies can use to attract top talent.

This raises opportunity for learning providers to acquire more business.

Commodity Market Fundamentals by Carley Garner

Allied to these market changes are emerging trends. A number of developments from a solutions standpoint are expected to emerge. These are just some of the exciting market developments and emerging trends in the world of digital learning, at which Intuition is at the fore. For more information on how Intuition can help you meet your goals for , get in touch with us at info intuition.

In an earlier blog, we examined the emerging phenomenon of the connected workplace, driven by an increased need for teamwork in a time of business transformation and supported by the emergence of increasingly popular digital collaboration tools. Against the backdrop of current and pending workplace skills shortages and an increasing need for skills in the social and communication areas, using new tools that promise to maximize the opportunity to connect and share expertise sounds like a no-brainer.

For those in the learning sphere, it also presents a powerful opportunity to place learning right where it needs to be: embedded in the flow of work, accessed by people where they are and when they need it, and harnessing the rich experiences that can be facilitated by collaborative and peer-based learning.

So, how can we help the collaborative environment fulfill its promise? These strategies can help you maximize the opportunity of workplace collaboration with the latest and greatest tools, for better learning and, ultimately, improved performance. Embracing and supporting the collaborative connected workplace will mean that your employees learn and share more from each other and are more informed about their organization and their roles. Help learners form new habits so that working and learning in a collaborative way becomes second nature — it will help them learn, grow, and perform better both together and as individuals.

The truly connected, collaborative workplace crosses boundaries of geography, language, and time to offer a rich experience for employees of all regions and levels. Help your workforce come for the information and stay for the community, inclusion, and connectedness that a successful connected workplace offers. We can see the impact of digital connectivity all around us, from interpersonal relationships to politics to consumer purchasing patterns.

But that is changing as the evolving nature of work, changing workplace demographics, and new workplace communication habits, reshape organizations. The rise of the connected workplace been fueled by a few factors. We have seen employee expectations formed outside the workplace increasingly shape their expectations inside the workplace.

We have also seen an increasing drive for agile, digital organizations that are able to adapt to the pace of disruption. The nature of work structures and teams is also changing. We are seeing increasingly dispersed workplaces, with transient teams assembled as needed for projects and disassembled as projects come to a close. Such teams must work harder to find the most effective and efficient ways to work together.

The workforce is also more mobile, due to the growing gig economy, more frequent job changes, and rapidly changing skills requirements. All of this demands a strong focus on collaboration and teamwork — on working together irrespective of space, structure, and location — to perform successfully. Technology also plays a role. Finding the right warehouse space to accommodate the current e-commerce client is becoming a challenge especially when lack of space availability is the biggest culprit.

Technology is now allowing portals to support customers with this process. This online portal that brings together customers looking for storage space and warehouse providers. The portal is interactive and therefore able to offer a direct communication between providers and customers.

The platform provides a selection of warehouse options and costs, allows customers to request customised quotations and provides live visibility of available space in the warehouse. For a long time, retailers have rightly focused their efforts merely in selling their products to clients. With the change in the shopping behaviour, retailers need to turn their attention to these crucial areas: cost, location, flexibility and immediacy. All these can be addressed by the right warehouse solution.

The brand new Journal of digital commerce has launched to help you hack your way through the digital jungle, with potent case studies and technology insights. Get the inside track on what other clever people in the industry are working on, with volume one of the Journal of digital commerce :. Click here to download your copy today. This version focuses on packing more features into Magento out of the box, whilst also bringing Magento up to date with performance and security enhancements.

Elasticsearch is an extremely popular search indexing tool which has been available for Magento Commerce customers for a while, allowing them to utilise more complex search queries and faster result responses to better sell their products. With the growing popularity of Elasticsearch, Magento has opted to provide this support to everyone, including Open Source Magento stores. Elasticsearch can make your search results faster and has much less overhead than the usual MySQL search.

The Magento Community Engineering team has been working hard on the introduction of multi-source inventory management — allowing merchants to manage the movement of stock from multiple sources and the reservation of stock amounts for other purposes such as retail stock. Alongside this also comes a more advanced stock allocation system, which should enable the ability for stock to be properly ring-fenced at the point of order placement.

This should help merchants prevent over-ordering. More integral features means less reliance on extensions. With less extensions comes stability. Magento has packed in more security features for merchants to feel safe when selling their products online. The second addition is Two-Factor Authentication on the Magento back-office. When enabled, back-office agents can confirm their identity using an app such as Google Authenticator. This allows merchants to be rest assured that only they can access their Magento admin panel. The latest release of PHP provides, amongst other things, a noticeable boost in performance to applications that use it.

Note: Patches for 2. Improvements in the data import and export tools of Magento should provide faster and more flexible tools to enable easier data management within your store. This is ideal for merchants that rely on integrations that require the management of a lot of data such as stock of catalogue information , because it enables the integrations to be leaner and less resource-intrusive on a Magento system.

Version 2. This will provide out-of-the-box tools to easily and quickly produce stunning CMS and home pages with a reduced need to develop bespoke widgets. Note: Page Builder is still in development — and will not be fully introduced till later in the year Q1 You can sign up for the Page Builder preview now if you wish to give it a go ahead of time. Overall, the 2.

With the reduction of extension requirements alongside other performance improvements this version provides, merchants can take advantage of a more robust, more stable, and more flexible Magento store. For online shop owners, plateauing revenue and a drop in sales can be a worry, if this begins to become a monthly trend. However, you may be failing to manage your average order value AOV , crucial if you are looking to boost your product sales. Your AOV is the average amount of money that each customer spends during a transaction within your store. To increase this amount, you will need to encourage shoppers to add more items, or to up the number of high-value items that they add to their cart.

There are few easy ways that you can increase your AOV, taking your online store out of the danger zone and seeing your revenue soar. Adding reviews and product recommendations is an easy way to encourage shoppers to browse around your store, rather than simply clicking through to one product or worse, leaving your site. Add product reviews and recommendations to popular items and on the checkout page, a quick way to increase the overall AOV and stop cart abandonment for good. Do consider the vocabulary that you use for each review that you write.

Incentivise your customers to spend a minimum amount, so that they are rewarded with a coupon, free gifts or free shipping. Pop ups or a promotion bar are a quick an easy way to encourage stubborn shoppers to add more to their carts. A loyalty programme is the ideal way to set up a retention strategy, meaning that you create relationships with your customers — in particular if you stock consumable products, that sees shoppers making weekly or monthly repeat purchases. Incentives such as a points scheme, offering shoppers rewards dependent on the total amount that they spend,.

If you are struggling to get customers to purchase more items, then creating product bundles will appeal — by setting the total cost at a lower price than if each item was purchased individually. You can also tailor bundles for your target demographic, such as creating beauty boxes or allowing shoppers to pick and choose which fashion items they would like in their own bundle. Creating product bundles will increase your AOV, while improving your customers overall shopping experience. Take time to focus, engage and encourage your customers and those who already know and trust your brand — your shoppers feel like they get more while your AOV gains a boost.

Smartebusiness will be exhibiting at eCommerce Show North this year. As a customer online, this is what they are faced with, an online market square with a number of retailers selling the same thing. So how can you stand out from the rest? Who would you buy from?! Your value proposition has to be right… so make sure it is. Before you even come to think about building a brand, make sure the value proposition is right as this is the first step to success online. Apple is also a great example. People would be questioning who they are. Think about what you are selling. Products normally fall in 1 of 2 camps, its either a rational problem solving purchase or an emotional one.

And this completely dictates what the ecommerce site says and does. Think about the differences between selling a luxury throw for the sofa or a car battery these are 2 of our clients! The car battery is such a problem solving rational purchase that you have only 4 hours to get the sale. You can see here that the brand messages are completely different and so the eCommerce site has to be also.

This is a massive one as it will dictate your whole offering. Consider the differences between AO and Boohoo. We all know that it can be a nightmare when your fridge breaks or your washing machine and you need to get back up and running fast. Their speedy delivery and complete flexibility over timeslots instantly creates a fantastic experience for their customers.

And to have them turn up and fit it for you and take away the packing for a small extra cost takes away the need to ring a number of tradesmen getting quotes, finding out when they can come over, and it may be two days after the fridge arrives. Boohoo sell their own brands so this is a completely different proposition and focus for them.

They focus on fast fashion and playing with the pricing architecture by offering time bound deals. They are fantastic at making you feel like you have to buy that dress right now or you are going to miss out and this works fantastically for converting those customers that may be just browsing. At Smartebusiness, we could talk about this one all day, in fact I actually wrote a book about it! We all know eCommerce revenue comes from traffic x conversion x average order values.

Stop thinking emotionally about your eCommerce store and focus on the fundamental maths of the revenue. These are the basics, but when you delve a tiny bit deeper you can see where your eCommerce site is strong and weak within about 20 seconds! The main KPIs you need to know about are:. They are the only things that matter in your world. This is why you are in business, and the only way to scale your growth. If you want, I can share our ecommerce KPI dashboard which puts all this together in a simple excel sheet and shows how you can grow over the next 3 years, its fascinating to see what the revenue can be if you tweak the kpis.

Just email enquiries smartebusiness. Once you have understood your KPIs and value proposition you can start thinking about your brand a bit more… so now you think about…. Start thinking about all the anxieties people go through when buying your products, what are they worried about, write them down. We can thank Amazon for this, because they really made us look at them, and so we should. People like them because they are real and we trust them.

Social proof should be a huge part of any retailers strategy. Especially with the increase in influencers, and the use of video. We heard this week that instagram are moving IGTV to the feed and so video content is going to be used much more. This gives a massive opportunity for retailers to use this to not only tell their story, but to use powerful social proof like video customer reviews or product demonstrations.

I always suggest categorizing them into groups e. You should have a well defined niche. So, they asked James the same question, and he said Peter. They eventually found that the coolest kid was a lad called Kevin, and they gave Kevin the yo yo. They knew that Kevin was the one child that influenced the whole school. This is exactly what Instagram is like.

We are all still influenced by influencers whether we like it or not! And remember, eCommerce is a process, and so you will always be making tweaks to keep up with your customer needs. The worst thing you can do is think that what is working now will always work forever. You will become stagnant and your customers will start to go elsewhere.

It revolutionised the way people shopped and now a lot of fashion retailers are following in their footsteps. Innovation and new ideas will make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. But make sure you do your research and make sure your innovative ideas are going to delight your customers!

After all, your customers are key! With a team of ex retailers that have worked in house for big eCommerce brands such as Lullabellz, Missguided, Simply Be and many more, Smartebusiness have 15 years eCommerce experience and are well placed to give retailers turning over between 2 and 20 million online some fantastic growth advice at the show this year.

Please email enquiries smartebusiness. I will also be on hand delivering an awesome speaking session about scaling from 2 million to 20 million. Be sure to watch the session and pop by to our stand next to the Magento theatre. The below blog originally appeared on their website. Having a world class eCommerce platform with a built in automatic order system and algorithms designed to detect fraud is one that we happen to know a thing or two about!

And sure, there are lots of ways that you can limit the amount of fraudulent transactions coming through your online store. Like using CVV numbers. Making sure that you are fully PCI Compliant. Always checking that billing addresses match IP addresses. Tracking your packages. Honestly, we could go on all day.

Whether we like it or not, fraud is and will probably always be the number one threat to online retailers. Merchants are up against it in a big way. Throwing even more fuel on the fire is the timeline that brands face when dealing with chargebacks, sometimes up to days of investigation before liability is ultimately determined. Now on one hand, you can ramp up your security measures in a bid to shift liability and keep chargebacks to a minimum. Because what do real-life, legitimate customers want?

They want frictionless checkout. And by frictionless, we mean one page wherever possible. If, for example Dave randomly checks his bank account and sees transactions from your online store that he never made, he has to go through the rigmarole of contacting his bank and being out of pocket for however long it takes for the charge to be returned to him, through no fault of his own. But from that moment forward, every time Dave sees an ad for your company, or someone mentions the brand in passing, he will always remember the grief that the experience caused him. At some point he has probably questioned the level of security behind your website.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that he has told his friends, family and colleagues all of the gory details. Not ideal. Not ideal at all. Should brands be implementing one page checkout as much as possible? Should they also be taking the appropriate measure to protect themselves against fraud? Of course they should! But how can you effectively achieve both? If it suddenly starts to go through the roof while your conversion rates simultaneously start to plummet, you could actually be putting your brand at a greater risk by losing legitimate customers.

If your cart abandonment rate remains largely unchanged on the other hand, you could quickly start to see a fall in the number of chargebacks coming through. But in terms of what sits at the root of all this chat about security, and the answer is always the same — the customer. Stock that needs to be repackaged in order to be resold. Well, as important as it is to create a seamless returns experience for your customers, companies often forget to focus the same attention on decreasing the rate of returns that come through in the first place.

You order an item that seems to ticks all the boxes. Context is everything. So your product descriptions need to be, for lack of a better term…descriptive. Detailed sizing guides, product specifications, and additional benefits should be included wherever necessary. Decreasing your returns rate is just one of the many benefits of integrating reviews and user generated content into your e-shop. In fact, there are more statistics about the power of UGC and online reviews than you can shake a stick at. So even though your online store needs to have top notch product descriptions, images, and videos, chances are that most shoppers are still going to want to see what other people who bought your product thought about it before they commit to the purchase.

They want to see your products in the light of day.

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If you sell clothing, they want to see how they look on different body types. If you sell furniture, they want to know what kind of wear and tear can be expected. So the best thing that you can possibly do for online shoppers is to plug all of this information into your website, so that it not only adds that layer of social proof to your offering, but further supports the decision-making process, as well as the overall customer experience.

Reviews feed into every product page, with the most liked positive review and most liked negative review featuring side by side at the top of the feed for all to see. All feedback is welcomed. You may already be gathering customer feedback in the form of checkboxes on return slips. But those return slips are only going to be of actual value to you if these two things are happening:. That way, you know that you need to add more information to your product descriptions or change the positioning of the sizing guides on your product pages, for example.

And maybe, you just switched to a new form of packaging in a bid to offset shipping costs. Probably not. You need to understand why customers are returning your products. Because all of those return slips will undoubtedly spell out for you what you need to do to take action and turn the returns train around.

The reality of running any kind of online store is that returns are always going to be part and parcel of the process. And sure, you can leverage free and easy returns as a way to amplify the customer experience and even boost sales, but at the end of the day, prevention is still better than cure. Consumers are an incredible source for championing products and are able to show potential customers an unbiased view of your brand.

Here are a few of our favourite User Generated Content campaigns over the past few years…. The campaign was so successful that the hashtag is still frequently used today, with the topical subject matter encouraging users to continue to engage with this body-positive message. This campaign has been splashed across billboards, as well as quirky videos where artists have commented on a playlist which includes their song. They even brought in amateur and professional photographers to take images through an iPhone, blowing up the results on billboards across the world.

User Generated Content campaigns are on the rise and we suggest jumping on the bandwagon. The below article originally appeared on the Kooomo website. Because not only does reducing packaging have a substantial effect on the environment, it also has a knock-on effect on overall shipping costs. Win win! If you want to ensure that your shipping materials are as eco-friendly as possible, you MUST start sizing to fit. Not only does this mean more emissions, but it also means a greater overall costs to merchants. Every inch counts just as much as every kilogram, especially considering the fact that most shipping costs are now based on dimensional weight.

What this means is that weight is no longer the dominant factor in calculating shipping rates — how much room a package will take up in a delivery truck is! Not every brand is going to have the resources available to integrate package design technology that will optimise every last inch of packaging, but every online retailer can absolutely take small steps that will make a big difference. You should absolutely consider custom branded shipping packaging for your products. The box can then be unfolded to reveal the brand story and ingredient information, removing the need to include a separate insert into each product box.

Try doing something similar with your own shipping boxes. Try printing this message on the inside of the box instead! As far as shipping goes, who knows — maybe one day brands will somehow be able to get orders to customers without the need for packaging. But until then, every little change can make a big difference.

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  • Maybe that is removing a single non-essential piece of packaging from your shipments. Or maybe it means altering the sizes of your shipping boxes. Whatever that change may be, any change really is better than no change at all. The article below originally appeared on the adaplo website. You have also probably done your research and found out that Shopping Campaigns are one of the main growth drivers for eCommerce stores. Therefore, they are indeed a traffic source that lives up to the hype.

    To help formulate your strategy for starting Google Shopping, there are plenty of resources available online. However, if you want everything you will ever need to start Google Shopping effectively and efficiently in one place, then this short guide is for you. We did all the research for you and, combined with our experience working with different clients in different industries and countries, we give you a closer look into:.

    Launching a new campaign is a straightforward process. On top of this, Google keeps improving the campaign setup process with a series of steps. What I would like to share is a high-level approach to the most important decisions and settings you need. As with everything else, if you get the basics right, you are off to a good start. If you just sell in one Country, this would be a non-issue. But what if you are selling in multiple countries?

    Should you advertise in all of these countries or just a few of them? And, how do you choose which ones? I suggest you start with one country — preferably a country you are already getting sales from as it is a validated market — learn from it and then scale to more countries. Shopping will not work for you if you are trying to sell at a market in which you are not competitive, either due to product selection or due to price levels and competition. More than often, I see Campaign Managers investing days of work trying to forecast or predict the results of new campaigns.

    My recommendation is to just start and wait for a few days to have clean data not assumptions that you can base your calculations on. Now you need to define your budget and bidding. Although Google first asks for your bidding, I believe that semantically you should first think about your budget and then decide how you are going to spend that money aka bidding.

    Typically it takes close to 2 months before you start seeing the real performance. Then, you can decide how to scale the account. This does not mean that you will not be getting conversions for the first 2 months; it is just that you will not be getting the max returns for your budget. To sum up, determine a short-term budget that you feel comfortable with and divide it by 2 months to get your initial daily budget. Next comes setting your bidding strategy. These days, Google is offering different ways to bid, which is great. However, it also means that we have to choose.

    Let me clarify. You will get tons of data on various dimensions campaign, ad group, product group, device, etc. Plus, you will be able to optimize the performance as you get more data. This is also the way sophisticated advertisers with proprietary algorithms choose.

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    As with countries, it is best to start with the product you are already selling like hot cakes. And, why is that product so popular? Because you have a good combo of product positioning, high-quality, relevant images, hard-to-beat pricing or competitive positioning. So, take what you already know works and start this new ad channel with it. The objective for your first weeks is to see if you can get more sales, not sell new items. Then you can scale your campaigns to other products. The whole process needs to be agile, meaning that you should start small and then scale based on the data.

    This is not good practice as it will not deliver the results you expect and also minimises the learnings you can get from this first campaign. My recommendation is to start with a single Shopping Campaign and break down AdGroups based on a column of your feed preferably category or brand. Then, as you get more data, you can further break down more campaigns into more granular targetings to optimise both the targeting and the bidding.

    As you start getting ad clicks and hopefully conversions from your campaigns you will want to monitor the performance of your ads and find optimization ideas. In this case, we have some exciting news. Google is built to recognise intention and, as a result, it can offer smarter personalised search results, based on what Google knows users will like. This makes them a vital resource to harness. Users are no longer restricted to the information provided only by the brands and people they know. Social media, comparison websites, influencers, and magazines all make the decision more complex.

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    Users are also relying much more heavily on search results. As such, the number of very generic searches is decreasing and the reliance on long-tail keywords is on the up. In order to target your Google Shopping adverts to achieve your business goals, you must elect to focus on a specific intention. Decide whether you want to:. After defining your business goals and focus, there are several simple tasks to optimise your ads for search.

    Google Shopping ads are one of the best tools to employ when attempting to attract customers and increase conversions.