The Shifting Role of E-Commerce in the U.S. Economy

by Crestmark 11. August 2014 09:56

The Internet's impact on the U.S. economy is always growing. The share of online sales is slowly creeping up as the share of brick-and-mortar retailers continues to decline year over year.

E-tailers See Growth

A recent study by the Centre for Retail Research estimates that the online retail share of sales in the U.S. is expected to hit 11.6 percent this year. The figures for nine major countries, including G-8 nations France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, were based on estimated online retail sales of goods. This is good news for U.S. e-tailers, who rely on 55 percent of the country's population to shop online. Online sales that were ordered via mobile devices are estimated to be as much as 13.8 percent for 2013, and are expected to rise to 19.9 percent this year. These figures didn't even include restaurant food, insurance, tickets, and gambling purchases.

                                                     

E-commerce Sales Are Up 

The U.S. Census Bureau has also announced that for the first quarter of 2014, the total retail e-commerce sales are up 2.8 percent over the fourth quarter of 2013. That's in increase of $71.2 billion. The estimate is adjusted for seasonal variation, not price changes. When compared to the first quarter of 2013, the increase is 15 percent. Unadjusted, the year-over-year comparison is an increase of 14.9 percent for e-tailers, and an increase of 2.2 percent for all retail sales.

Retail Storefronts Decline during E-commerce Rise

While e-commerce increases amid promising signs of an economic recovery in the U.S., more retailers are expected to close their brick-and-mortar storefronts. Staples, Inc. has announced that it plans to close 225 office supply stores by the end of next year. RadioShack, known for selling electronic gadgets and trending tech toys, announced in March that as many as 1,100 of its stores worldwide would close. In recent weeks, however, the company has decreased that number, citing disagreements with its lenders over the best way to manage its poor performance. According to reports by USA Today, RadioShack announced a loss of $191 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 over its 5,524 stores and dealer outlets. With 4,300 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S., the company still plans to close a large number of stores, but no longer one-fifth of its locations.

The shift from retail storefronts to ecommerce business is hardly over, as there’s dust still left to settle in the broader shopping landscape. This transition is likely to bring more innovation to the marketplace, with brick and mortar stores finding new and creative ways to serve their customers, and internet based businesses working to take market share away from those same companies. This type of healthy competition is great for consumers though, and we look forward to seeing how things play out for the rest of 2014!     


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Business

Staffing for the Online Era

by Crestmark 23. January 2014 06:55

Staffing a business used to be a fairly straight forward process: a manager would receive a résumé, conduct an interview, and decide whether or not the candidate fit with the company. But as technology has advanced, the internet has begun to play a larger and larger role. 

From places like Elance to SITE, online staffing sites have hundreds of thousands of job postings with hundreds of millions in revenue, covering all industries, skillsets, and experience levels. So, what does this mean for the industry as a whole?  

It means that things are changing for the better, and there are benefits for both job seekers and employers.

Benefits for Job Seekers:

Job seekers can find a multitude of opportunities: from a project that may involve one or two assignments for supplemental income, to ongoing and long-term contract opportunities. And with the ability to search based on keywords related to their qualifications, job seekers can drastically cut down the time it takes to find relevant positions to apply to.

This changes the game dramatically. Rather than relying on a recruiter, job seekers have the power to take their search into their own hands.

Benefits for Employers:

For the employer, utilizing online tools allows them to automate many of the processes that previously needed to be completed manually. In other words, employers can use new tools to save money .

While taking the industry online doesn’t eliminate the need for recruiters, it does reduce both the effort needed to recruit and the money spent on recruiting. According to Forbes, recent data found that businesses around the world spend more than 3,300 per hire on recruiting alone, which is actually up six percent from previous years. This equates to the U.S. spending 72 billion on recruiting services per year, with the international numbers nearly three times that.

As the staffing industry continues to shift online, the need for companies to invest in technology will continue to rise. That’s where Crestmark can help. If you have a staffing company and are in need of capital to grow your business, give us a call today!   

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Industry Financing


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