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Resource: Featured Articles
Online Shopping Causes Retailers to Make Major Changes
Monday, May 21, 2012

Online shopping has shifted the way customers spend their money. More and more are making purchases through online sites rather than making a trip to the actual stores.

Brick-and-mortar stores are having to redesign the customer shopping experience. Stores are taking customer service to a new level of in-store pampering.

For example, handbag maker Coach Inc is increasing its number of men's sections. Popular department store Macy's Inc is also installing a "virtual concierge" kiosk which will have features such as making recommendations for beauty products.

Empty retail space is spread out all across the nation with the downfall of major chains like Borders and Mervyns serving as grim reminders.

The National Retail Federation expects a 3.4 percent increase in sales this year. Even as retail spending continues to maintain as much resilience from the recession as possible, this increase still falls short of last year's 4.7 percent rise.

In a survey conducted last year by NRF and KPMG, only 31 percent of retailers said they had plans of expanding in 2012.

In lieu of risking failed expansion, stores are now turning to having in-store only services. PetSmart plans to double its 200 "pet hotels" they already offer in hopes of bringing in new customers and get current ones to return more often.

The key is to make them an offer they can't get through an internet connection. According to the NRF, the 25 largest chains had 2 percent more stores in 2010 than in 2007. These chains were primarily lead by drugstore and discounters like Wal-Mart or dollar stores.

Depending on demand from their niche consumer groups, retailers can see either a positive or negative affect from expansion. Either way, every retailer has to make some sort of redefining change in order to avoid the unforntuate fate many other major chains have fallen victim to.

Make More Money With a Part-Time Gig
Friday, May 11, 2012

They always say that something is better than nothing, and it couldn't be truer in an anemic economy. For those who may have been out of work or are having difficulty making ends meet, there's good news.

While the unemployment rate is dropping, the media tend to neglect mentioning where the pick-up in jobs is coming from. Part-time jobs are abundant and are filling up fast. People might not be able to live off a part-time job but the flexibility in hours lets people get back on their feet.

It's common for people to work two part-time jobs and make just as much as they would working full-time. Here are some of the top part-time gigs that could make all the difference between swimming and treading financial waters.

Waiting Tables
A part-time serving job is by far one of the most sought after and attractive jobs for people looking to make quick money. Naturally, they're all after one thing: tips. People who work at nice restaurants and are exceptional at providing good guest service can easily turn their occupation into a permanent livelihood.

Wait staff get to take home money on a daily basis and still receive a paycheck. The hospitality industry, however, is usually fast-paced so servers need to be quick on their feet, able to memorize the menu, and have a great deal of patience. It isn't for everyone, but those that can handle it well can find serving as a suitable career move.

Painting Houses
Work as house painter isn't exacty glamorous. Plus, the hours can be long and fairly arduous. Yet, there are plenty of people who stack up a good amount of extra cash from summers of house painting. The average salary for a full-time painter is about $31,000 a year so even earning part-time wages can prove to be very beneficial to slipping incomes.

Bookkeepers are an important part of all businesses since they are the people looking after the finances. Companies need people with solid accounting abilities and are familiar with software like QuickBooks. Bookkeeping is a niche skillset that can set those who are good at it apart from both other bookkeepers and industries. Bookkeeping work can also be part-time, done from home and during flexible hours. There's a lot of potential to earn good money in bookkeeping whether full or part-time.

Landscaping is more than just gardening. It takes a creative eye to create scenery that appeals to all the senses. People who enjoy working outdoors and hands-on would make a good fit for a landscaping job. It's especially ideal for people who want to work on their own schedule.

Many landscapers are self-employed so the only boss they have to report to are themselves. They can also end up making more money being self-employed as opposed to for another employer. Keep in mind that landscaping also doesn't have to be limited to seasons or regions. Landscaping may be needed for all kinds of work whether it be grass or snow.

Social Media
Social media is making waves in all industries from entertainment to politics. These jobs can easily be done through telecommunications so many companies will hire part-timers to do the work remotely. Companies are looking for the extra set of hands without having to take on another full-time employee. These types of jobs are suitable for freelancers and people wanting to fatten up their wallets a bit. Part time social media specialists can earn an hourly rate from $20-$50 depending on their experience and web-savviness. There are no shortages of capable people for the job and it requires no formal education so it's best to get into it if you want something to add to an existing main source of income.

When companies are down-sizing, the addition of part-time jobs are what's keeping the economy from collapsing entirely. Part-time workers benefit both the employer and employee. The employer can cut back on the addtional costs of compensating a full-time employee (like benefits and salaries) and the employee can rest easier knowing that they can expect the number in their bank accounts to stay on the plus side.

There are plenty of part-time jobs out there, usually more than full-time ones, that are easy to get. Whatever the circumstance, if you've got money problems, a part-time job may be the right remedy.

One Retailer's Comeback
Thursday, May 03, 2012

At the beginning of the year, major retailer JCPenney exploded back on the market with a completely revamped brand. Their new changes were ones to watch out for.

With their new CEO, Ron Johnson, on their side (the man behind Apple's retail stores) JC Penney now has a new logo, Ellen Degeneres as their spokesperson, and a new pricing strategy. All this in a matter of two months.

The company also now refers to itself as jcpenney. By keeping costs low with discounted  prices up to 40% year round and scheduled releases for new merchandise, they intend to get customers coming in and more coming back.

Shoppers can now find merchandise set up in shops rather than on racks and shelves. Even while there aren't that many ways of displaying merchandise, JC Penney is taking new approaches in retail innovation.

One noticeable change is the evocation of the American flag in its new logo meant to make a distinct impression and set it apart from other retailers.

Their aim is to give customers a new kind of shopping experience that will bring them through the doors rather than taken to a website. According to Johnson, the company is channeling its efforts toward one core value: treating customers "fair and square."

Most companies take years to implement big changes but JC Penney isn't wasting any time in doing the unconventional. When most companies would be taking baby steps and testing them out, JC Penney is launching their mission at full speed with all stores updated with the new initiatives by August 2012. Management anticipates a complete transformation by 2015.

In the retail industry, these major changes can be seen as a breath of fresh air. JC Penney is showing that it isn't afriad to make daring, even risky, moves and it's proving to turn heads.