Price, Shipping Costs Motivate International Buyers, PayPal Study Finds

shipping handler

Good news for online merchants selling products and services to customers in international markets. According to a new PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2015 report (PDF), cross-border sales are on the rise, and the U.S. is the most preferred destination for online shopping.

The findings reveal a number of interesting consumer insights.

Key Takeaways

The research investigated the online and cross-border shopping habits of more than 23,200 consumers in 29 countries to understand how and why people shop online, and how they pay for cross-border transactions.

Some of the key findings of the PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research report are:

  • The greatest prevalence of cross-border shopping is in Ireland (79 percent), Austria (78 percent) and Israel (71 percent)
  • The majority of cross-border purchases are made on a computer, although mobile devices are more popular in the developing countries
  • Clothing and apparel (49 percent) is the most popular category for cross-border purchases, followed by consumer electronics (32 percent), entertainment and education (31 percent), and travel (31 percent)
  • The majority of consumers (64 percent) prefer large global stores when purchasing from another country

Price and Shipping Costs Drive Purchases

A key finding was consumer attitudes towards price and shipping costs. About 73 percent of surveyed respondents cite better pricing as a key reason to make an international purchase. It’s also interesting to note that 50 percent of respondents say free shipping is a potential motivation for cross-border shopping. In fact, 47 percent of them say delivery costs prevent them from making international purchases regularly.

In other words, being sensitive to product and shipping costs can boost your chances of attracting customers in the international markets.

Why You Need to Focus on Mobile and SEO

Mobile commerce is a key driver of global online shopping, the study says. The assertion is based on the numbers that clearly prove mobile matters more than ever. For example, 47 percent of online shoppers used their smartphones to make a purchase last year.

It has also found that Nigerians who conduct nearly 37.8 percent of their online spend using smartphones lead in mobile shopping. They are followed by China (33.6 percent).

The trend suggests growing demand for online shopping apps that save time and make transactions safer and simpler.

But it’s not just mobile commerce that is driving cross-border purchases. Fifty-eight percent of cross-border shoppers said they go directly to the website they have used in the past to make purchases. 40 percent go to websites they know the address for, while 36 percent visit sites recommended by friends and family.

It goes without saying that SEO plays a key role in drawing consumers to international shopping.

Cross-border selling is tricky, but if done right, it’s also extremely rewarding. You just need to have the strategy and means to make the most of it.

Shipping Photo via Shutterstock


Exploding smartphones pose risk of exposure to toxic gases, says study

Photo: iStockPhoto: iStock

The recent controversy involving Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was a harbinger of the various hazards Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries, used in billions of smartphones, can expose users to. Most of these Samsung phones started leaking out smoke and eventually caught fire, causing first degree burns to several users across the world. Samsung isn’t the first phone maker facing the battery issue. Nokia phones powered by Li-Ion battery started exploding in 2007, forcing the Finnish company to replace batteries in over 46 million devices. US based Dell had to recall some 4.1 million laptops in 2006 for similar reasons.

Also read:

Samsung to kill off Galaxy Note 7 after second round of battery fires

Samsung, it’s high time to close the Galaxy Note 7 chapter

The risk of exposure to hazardous gases

A recent study carried out by researchers at NBC Defence and Tsinghua University, China claims that fire caused by overheating, damage or using a disreputable charger with Li-Ion battery can produce more than 100 toxic gases including carbon monoxide. The study was published in international journal Nano Energy Volume 27.

Researchers exposed two types of commercially used Li-Ion batteries to high temperature in a combustion chamber made of steel glass panel. A hole was created at the top to provide an outlet to the gases. A chemical identification system was used to separate and identify the gases that were released due to the combustion. Besides carbon monoxide, the researchers found traces of sulphur dioxide, naphthalene and propylene oxide in the fumes.

Researchers point out that in real life usage overheating or damage to Li-Ion batteries can expose it to such high temperatures.

It was also found that a fully charged battery is more likely to release more toxic gases compared to a battery with 50% charge. The capacity of a battery to release charge can also affect the concentrations and release more toxic gases. This means batteries with bigger capacity pose greater risk than smaller batteries.

Lead researcher Dr. Jie Sun said, “Dangerous gases such as Carbon Monoxide have the potential to cause serious harm within a short period of time if they leak inside a small, sealed environment, such as the interior of a car or an airplane.” Read more here.

The issue with Li-Ion batteries

Part of the problem lies with Li-Ion battery itself. The liquid inside a lithium ion battery is highly inflammable. Any damage to the outer layers of the battery can cause a short circuit which in turn can cause fire and explosion. While the Li-Ion technology is not the safest it is the most convenient and compact option available to phone manufacturers right now. A single charge lasts a day, while the usable life is 2 years or 1000 charge and discharge cycles.

Alternative sources

Solar cells, Aluminium ion and Fuel Cells are some of the alternatives that have been considered by manufacturers. However, they have not been able to make them small enough so they can fit into a smartphone.

US company Apple is working on bringing fuel cells into mainstream. It applied for a patent for a portable Fuel Cell system from US Patent and Trademark office in March 2015 and was awarded the patent in September 2015. What has caught Apple’s attention is the ability of Fuel Cells to hold charges longer than Li-Ion batteries. A single charge is likely to last 4 to 5 days. It is also clean and more eco-friendly. It is widely used as APUs (Auxiliary Power Units) in electric cars, such as Toyota Prius. A Fuel Cell generates power through a chemical reaction involving hydrogen and oxygen

A British company Intelligent Energy is working on a Fuel Cell powered smartphone. In February 2016, it announced that its working with an OEM to develop an embedded hydrogen fuel call system that can keep a smartphone backed up for a week. However, initially it will co-exist with the smartphone’s Li-Ion battery.


Study Reveals Female Business Owners Need to Set Boundaries

female business owners study

You say you care about work-life balance, but do you, really?

A new survey found that while women small business owners claim to value work-life balance more than men, women are less likely than men to actually take steps to achieve that elusive goal.

Capital One’s latest Spark Business Barometer polled small business owners about various aspects of their businesses, including how they define business success.

The most commonly cited measures of success are typical ones for a business – customer satisfaction led the pack, cited by 94 percent of entrepreneurs, followed by revenues and profits (cited by 77 and 76 percent, respectively; respondents could choose more than one answer).

However, work-life balance ranked fairly high, too. Sixty-nine percent of women define success as achieving work-life balance, compared to 58 percent of men.

How Do Entrepreneurs Achieve Balance?

Forty-three percent say they take vacations, 33 percent set specific times for arriving and leaving work, and 27 percent limit how much work they take home.

But women are less likely than men to “set boundaries,” as the study puts it, that could help them achieve better balance in their lives. The male business owners polled are more likely to set ground rules for how many hours they work, how many days they travel on business or how many speaking engagements they attend. Three-fourths of men say they set ground rules, compared to 69 percent of women.

Why Aren’t Women Business Owners Setting Limits?

After all, it could help create the balance we crave.

I’m sure some women entrepreneurs, just like some men, don’t care about work-life balance. They know that, especially during startup, you’ve got to pour almost everything into your business to help it succeed.

Perhaps others, like me, are passionate about what they do and would rather work than do practically anything else.

But there are two more insidious causes behind women’s work-life imbalance.

First, the study quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics saying women working full-time earn 82.5 cents for every dollar men working full-time make. Maybe women feel we can’t stop working for fear of falling even further behind.

Second, many of us just plain have trouble saying “No.” (I suffer from this myself.) Most women (although this is changing a bit) are raised to be “people pleasers” and help people out; putting ourselves first feels wrong. But as the flight attendants say before takeoff, you need to put on your oxygen mask before helping others. If you don’t set boundaries around your life, business will encroach.

How Can You Solve These Problems?

Is it Time to Raise Your Prices

Especially in service industries, women may feel we have to undercut others to get the job.

If there is a legitimate reason to raise prices, go for it!

If you’re spending too much time on clients that pay too little, consider cutting some of them loose so you can go after bigger, better-paying fish.

Start Saying No!

Think about all the commitments you have coming up in the next month that you wish you hadn’t made.

When someone asks you to do something, you don’t have to reply right away. Tell them you’ll get back to them as soon as you’ve checked your calendar. Then decide if the effort is worth it to you.

Could someone else do it? Do you want to do it? Do you NEED to do it?

Eliminate low-value activities from your life, and you’ll have more time for what matters most to you.

No Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Women Entrepreneurs


Playing Action Video Games May Boost Driving Skills: Study

Playing Action Video Games May Boost Driving Skills: Study

Playing action-based video games may boost the players’ ability to coordinate visual information with their motor control – a skill critical to many real-world behaviours including driving, says new research.

The findings showed that playing some types of video games can confer benefits for specific visual abilities such as sensitivity to contrast and visuo-spatial attention.

“The research shows that playing easily accessible action video games can be a cost-effective tool to help people improve essential visuomotor-control skills used for driving,” said lead researcher Li Li, Associate Professor at New York University in Shanghai, China.

Experienced action gamers showed much greater precision in keeping to their lane and showed less deviation from centre in the face of increasing headwinds, when compared to the participants with little to no action video game experience.

To establish a causal link between action video games and visuomotor control skills, the team recruited participants who had no action video gaming experience to take part in a training study.

They then compared the visuomotor abilities of players who had played at least 5 hours per week over the previous 6 months to participants who had negligible action video game experience.

The participants were randomly assigned to either an action video game group or a control group, and they completed a total of 10 1-hour training sessions.

The data showed that playing “Mario Kart,” a fast-paced action video game, improved participants’ visuomotor control skills on the target dot task after five hours of training.

Those who played “Roller Coaster Tycoon”, a non-action strategy game, showed no such improvement over time.

For novice drivers, training with driving video games may be more helpful, the researchers suggested in the work published in the journal Psychological Science.

Tags: Apps, Gaming, Science, Video Games



Nearly Half of Smartphone Gamers Are Women: Facebook Study

Nearly Half of Smartphone Gamers Are Women: Facebook Study

Smartphones are the most used gaming device for people globally – and across 12 countries, 47 percent of all smartphone players are now women, a Facebook study has revealed, adding that gaming on mobile devices is increasingly becoming popular among women.

Facebook’s data analysis and storytelling team FacebookIQ commissioned market research company TNS to survey people ages 18-plus spanning 12 countries representing North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle-East and Asia on their use of mobile as a gaming device.

The survey found that on average, smartphones are the top gaming device for users – at 71 percent – followed by computers at 64 percent, tablets at 34 percent and video game consoles at 26 percent, reported on Tuesday.

The survey also analysed the habits of mobile game spenders – users who play games on mobile and pay for games on at least a monthly basis – and found that these spending players were 2.7 times more likely to stay in-game for a “sense of community and belonging” than mobile non-spenders.

These spenders were also found to be 2.3 times more likely to stop playing games than non-spenders if community members stop playing.

“On average across the 12 markets, 68 percent of mobile game spenders said they discover games via social networking platforms. Other popular discovery sources were photo and video services at 57 percent and chat apps at 54 percent,” the report said.

Thirty-four percent of mobile game spenders said they discover games by word of mouth.

Tags: Apps, Facebook, Games, Gaming, Internet



on line person ratings no longer true indicators of Product first-class: study

Online User Ratings Not Good Indicators of Product Quality: Study

The belief that on line user scores are exact signs of product first-rate is largely an phantasm, yet manyclients depend upon the records even as making purchase decisions, a brand new examine has found.

nearly all retailers offer user ratings on their websites, the researchers stated.

For the take a look at, researchers tested person scores for 1,272 products across 120 productcategories, such as automobile seats, motorcycle helmets, sunblock, air filters, smoke alarms and bloodstrain monitors.

The analyses display a completely low correspondence between average consumer scores of productson an e-trade portal and product ratings based on goal checks observed in purchaser reviews.

“The chance that an item with a better user rating performs objectively higher than an object with adecrease consumer score is most effective 57 percent,” said Bart de Langhe, professor at the universityof Colorado Boulder in US.

“A correspondence of fifty consistent with cent could be random, so consumer scores offer little or noperception approximately goal product overall performance,” de Langhe said.

The observe also discovered that the consumer rankings do no longer are expecting the resale cost of used merchandise.

merchandise with better reliability and performance preserve more in their value over the years,” statedde Langhe.

“If common user scores mirror goal nice, they need to correlate positively with resale values. The realitythat they do not casts more doubt at the validity of consumer scores,” he stated.

Researchers also tested what information purchasers depend on when judging the exceptional ofmerchandise on the e-trade website.

They observed that consumers depend very heavily at the average person rating, that’s presentedfront and centre.

They do that irrespective of whether or not the average rating is based totally on a small or a massivepattern of clients.

this is a mistake. generally, there are simply now not sufficient ratings for a product or there is too much confrontation among reviewers,” stated de Langhe.

“In this case, purchasers ought to no longer trust the average very a good deal, however they dodespite the fact that,” he stated.

The look at was posted inside the magazine of patron research.

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Sexual Harassment Rendering Online Women Gamers Invisible: Study

Sexual Harassment Rendering Online Women Gamers Invisible: Study
Sexual Harassment Rendering Online Women Gamers Invisible: Study
While many women gamers can shrug off much of the trash talk they hear while playing online video games, sexual harassment sticks with them even when they are offline – a major factor that is rendering female gamers invisible in the online gaming community, says a study.

The study involving a survey of 293 women who played video games online showed that, while they did not like general abuse such as swearing and insults about their game-playing skills, they could dismiss these types of comments from their mind pretty easily.

But even after the game was over, women continued to think about the sexist comments, rape jokes and threats, and other sexually related comments that they received while playing with men.

“Most women players understand trash talking and having their playing skill insulted, even if they don’t like it,” said lead author of the study Jesse Fox, professor of communication at The Ohio State University in the US.

“But what disturbs them is being targeted simply for being a woman. They don’t easily forget those comments and continue to think about them when they’re done playing,” Fox noted.

The findings appeared online in the journal New Media & Society.

For the study, the researchers recruited women from online forums, blogs and social media sites for an online survey on experiences with trash talking and harassment in video games. The average age of the women who participated was 26.

Results showed that sexual harassment seemed to bother them more than general harassment.

“They don’t forget about sexual harassment. The abuse that women experience online stays with them and has a real-world impact. They withdraw from the game and continue to think about what happened,” Fox explained.

In addition, women who perceived that gaming companies did not do enough to stop sexual harassment were more likely to withdraw from playing.

“Gaming companies do drive women away when they don’t take an active stance against online sexual harassment,” Fox said.

“It makes women invisible in the gaming community. Gaming companies assume that there aren’t many female players or that women aren’t interested in online games when they’re really just hiding their identity,” she said.

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Tags: Gaming, Girls, Internet, Online Sexual Harassment, Science, Sexual Harassment, Woman


India Among Most Vulnerable Nations to Cyber-Attacks: Study

India Among Most Vulnerable Nations to Cyber-Attacks: Study

When it comes to vulnerability to cyber-attacks, India along with China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea is most vulnerable, says research led by an Indian-American scientist.

While the US is ranked 11th safest of 44 nations studied, several Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway and Finland were ranked the safest in the book authored by V.S. Subrahmanian, professor of computer science at the University of Maryland.

“Our goal was to characterise how vulnerable different countries were, identify their current cyber-security policies and determine how those policies might need to change in response to this new information,” said Subrahmanian, with the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

Damaging cyber-attacks on a global scale continue to surface every day. Some nations are better prepared than others to deal with online threats from criminals, terrorists and rogue nations.

Subrahmanian discussed the findings at a panel discussion hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington on Wednesday.

The authors conducted a two-year study that analysed more than 20 billion automatically generated reports, collected from four million machines per year worldwide.

The researchers based their rankings, in part, on the number of machines attacked in a given country and the number of times each machine was attacked.

Machines using Symantec anti-virus software automatically generated these reports, but only when a machine’s user opted in to provide the data.

Trojans, followed by viruses and worms, posed the principal threats to machines in the US.

However, misleading software (fake anti-virus programmes and disk cleanup utilities) was far more prevalent in the US compared with other nations that have a similar gross domestic product, the authors noted.

The results suggest that US efforts to reduce cyber threats should focus on education to recognise and avoid misleading software.

“People – even experts – often have gross misconceptions about the relative vulnerability (to cyber-attack) of certain countries. The authors of this book succeed in empirically refuting many of those wrong beliefs,” said Isaac Ben-Israel, chair of the Israeli Space Agency and former head of that nation’s National Cyber Bureau, in a foreword to the book.

The co-authors on the book are Michael Ovelgonne, a former UMIACS postdoctoral researcher; Tudor Dumitras, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Maryland Cybersecurity Centre; and B. Aditya Prakash, assistant professor of computer science at Virginia Tech.

A related research paper was presented at the 9th ACM International Conference of Web Search and Data Mining in February this year.