Amazon – the Future of Shopping?

They say that the high street is dying. In some towns more than 30% of stores lie empty, as shoppers head to out-of-town shopping centres for many purchases, and rely on mail order for things that can wait.

Amazon is doing particularly well at the moment. It started life as a small, American online bookstore, and went on to become a multi-national concern. Today, the site has branches all over the world, and it doesn’t just sell books. You can buy games, toys, and even groceries via Amazon today, and they even have their own electronic device – the Kindle – an e-reader that will presumably secure Amazon’s future even if books go out of style.

Why is Amazon So Successful?

Part of Amazon’s success can be attributed to the fact that they got in ahead of the rush.  Amazon was founded in 1995, during the height of the dot com boom. Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, started small, and while many of his competitors shot for rapid growth and mega-bucks, he was happy with slow but sustainable growth. Amazon survived when the dot-com bubble burst, and by then it was firmly entrenched in the minds of the public as the go-to place for hard to find books.

Amazon Make Things Easy

The challenge for any online retailer is persuading people to click for their products, rather than walk into the store. This is one thing that Amazon does really well. Once you’ve bought something from Amazon, buying again is easy thanks to their one-click purchasing tool. You pick the product you want, select the speed of delivery you prefer, and then sit back and relax.

Postage and Packing

Amazon has shipping down to a fine art. Where consumers may be nervous about buying from other online retailers that squeeze books into Jiffy bags that are the wrong size, Amazon has carefully designed cardboard sleeves which will protect most books, and uses cardboard boxes that are lovingly packed for larger orders.

Digital Download

While there will always be a demand for some form of physical product – whether that’s clothes, toys, or food, there’s a growing demand for digital distribution too. Amazon identified this, and has already got a strong digital distribution system for subscribing to premium blogs, downloading MP3s, and downloading ebooks. This ensures that even if we do end up in a future where cardboard boxes and jiffy bags are looked upon as being as quaint as the LP and analogue radio, Amazon will still be relevant.

It’s this forward thinking attitude that has made the company so strong, and so popular. Other retailers sell just one thing, and don’t even do that well. When you see cardboard boxes with the Amazon logo on them, the chances are good that they’ll contain a book – but that’s not the only thing they sell. That box could contain a DVD, a video game, or something completely different.

To the consumer, it doesn’t matter – all that matters is that they paid an acceptable price, and that the product got their safely on time. That is what Amazon does well, and that’s what makes them the future of shopping.

This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of UK Packaging who can supply Jiffy bags and a great range of cardboard boxes to suit all needs. Crispin writes on business and retail.

Article publié pour la première fois le 21/02/2012

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Google, Microsoft, and Facebook Join Forces to Fight Phishing

Phishing is one of the most subtle and devious threats to Internet security today. Passwords and digital databases are encrypted and secure. The weak link in the chain is, and always will be, the human involved. While database compromises do happen, and network security is always an issue, social hacking is the easiest way to steal someone’s password.

Phishers most commonly use e-mails designed to look authentic and ask you for your information. These e-mails generally use the templates of legitimate e-mails. World of Warcraft, a bank’s correspondence, your Facebook profile or Google’s homepage are all common targets. They will have legitimate unsubscribe links, valid links to the appropriate pages on the actual site, but they will ask you to click a link to reset your name and password.

The site that link takes you to will look legitimate, but when you put in your name and password, it won’t go to the actual site. Instead, it will be recorded and given to the phisher. This is how your identity is stolen, your passwords recorded and your internet security compromised.

Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are all primary targets for phishing scams, and they’re tired of dealing with it. It creates hassles for the companies, for the affected users and for other users. Together they’ve decided to take a stand against phishing attacks and try to do something about them. They’re working with a number of banks and security vendors to form a group to fight phishing. They’re calling it the Domain-based Authentication, Reporting and Conformance group, or DMARC.

DMARC’s goal is to create a system where e-mails can be authenticated on both ends, sender and receiver. This way the sender can make sure that they’re sending correspondence to the right person, and the receiver can make sure the e-mails they receive come from who they claim to come from. Phishing attempts and other similar scams can be weeded out and blocked automatically.

The group is working to create a standardized set of policies and a platform that will allow service providers to add security to their e-mail correspondence. This platform would have the added benefit of providing reports to the service provider, to show them what phishing attempts are being used and to learn from them.

Along with Google, Microsoft, and Facebook several other companies are getting in on the game. AOL, Paypal and Yahoo are participating alongside financial firms such as Bank of America and Fidelity. All of these companies lose millions every year to phishing schemes, both directly and indirectly. The loss of consumer confidence and the resulting loss of revenue is astounding.

As phishing schemes grow more and more sophisticated, so too must the security measures put into place to prevent them. The DMARC partnership hopes to provide just such a sophisticated platform to ensure that e-mail correspondence can have the trust it deserves. While currently in a basic draft, the DMARC platform should go a long way towards minimizing identity theft through e-mail and social networks.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 21/02/2012

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