Monday, January 2, 2017

Retailers who miss up-selling opportunities

My caravan at a site
When I bought my new caravan several years ago, I had never had anything to do with caravans or caravaning before - I was a complete novice.

My friend Michael, who had owned caravans and also bought the same caravan I had bought, gave me a list of all the accessories I would need, none of which I had even thought about.

It was a Saturday, so we drove to a nearby caravan, camping and fishing supplies shop where I bought:

  1. A drinking water hose and fittings
  2. An inline water filter for the drinking water hose
  3. A sullage hose without fittings (not available)
  4. Two tie down ropes for the awning
  5. A pair of multigrip pliers
  6. A step to get into the caravan
  7. Several plastic wheel chocks, toilet chemicals and a few other things

I walked out of the shop having added about $500 to my credit card.

The caravan had a bare-bones 40mm plastic water pipe near one side of the caravan. That was where we had to fit attachments to reduce it to a 25mm diameter so we could attach the end of the sullage pipe. It took us four or five trips to different hardware shops to eventually cobble together something that would work - another $16!

What occurred to me was that the company who sold me the caravan didn’t mention the need for any of these extras, most of which weren’t optional.

Had they been wise enough, they would have either sold these accessories with the caravan at additional cost or offered new caravan owners a starter’s pack of accessories. Here’s what you will need, tick the box if you’d like us to add them to your purchase price.

Here was a sales opportunity lost.

Admittedly, $500 worth of accessories is nothing compared to a $55,000 caravan, however, sell enough caravans and it not only provides a better service - one-stop shopping for customers, but it would aggregate into a decent additional income.

The options to be selling some of the towing accessories etc is also one that should have been adopted. Throw in some travel books; a camp stove - possibilities are endless.

Some firms are smart enough to sell complementary accessories where the opportunity presents. Is your company?

Who do you know that could expand their inventory and increase their turnover?


Monday, November 21, 2016

Do You Use Two-factor Identification?

If you are like many people, your household has a couple of smart phones and perhaps two or three other digital devices that allow you to connect to the internet. It’s also a fairly safe bet that when you are shopping, you use free wifi to catch up with your email, spend some time on Facebook, or pay a bill or two.

Free wifi locations are not secure and, because everyone has access to them, increase your risk of having your digital device hacked. That is, someone else can access your device and view, edit or download your information. It’s possible for criminals to scan your device and pick up passwords as you enter them.

They can do this from outside your house or at free wifi points in shopping centres which means there is a weakness in your security system. Statistically, the chance that yours will be the device scanned, is probably remote, but it can happen.

Two-factor identification was designed with this security flaw in mind.

What is two-factor identification?

Two-factor identification occurs when you enter a password and then have to do something else before you can access your account. Banks and Centrelink use this system. When you log in using your password, some of them send an SMS message to your smart phone. You then enter the digits from the phone  into another field before gaining account access.

Because the second factor digits change every time you log in, someone scanning them on one occasion will find they cannot use them to access your account.

Creating your own two-factor identification

A company called Yubikey ( has designed two-factor identification we can use at home in devices with a USB port (not iPads or smart phones). It includes using a small wifi-enabled USB key from which you generate a second random password by placing a finger or thumb on the key. The sequence generated is long and changes every time you log in.


If you are concerned about online security, Yubikey might be the answer you are looking for.

I use a password management program called LastPass (free or $12 pa for premium version). ( Most of my passwords are stored in LastPass in an encrypted container that allows access with a master password. After I enter the master password, I use my Yubikey for second-factor identification.

The chances of someone accessing my LastPass program or my passwords is scant, even if they had access to my laptop because I do not leave my Yubikey with the laptop when I’m not using it.

Does password management and online security interest you? Get more information about these products from their sites.


PS: The author does not have a business interest in either Yubikey or LastPass and does not receive any payment from them

Friday, June 17, 2016

Smart Tips to Pay Off Your Student Loans Faster

Paying back student loans isn’t a very easy thing to do. Just the thought of it is terrifying. After graduating from college, it’s crucial to get a job, find a place to live in, try to settle, and make a healthy living. But having to pay back college loans slows down the process and makes it very difficult for one to refrain from stress and anxiety.

However, as unendurable as it may seem, it is not impossible. One should know the importance and the benefits of paying the loans off earlier than required. It helps save money, because when the time period of paying the loan back decreases, it causes the final principal amount that needs to be paid to decrease as well, since time is directly proportional to the principle amount. Thus, it enables one to save a certain amount that may be enough to fulfill the other necessities in life, such as a car, or, depending on where you live, a full year or two of rent. It also provides freedom and satisfaction.

If paying back the student loan isn’t taken seriously, it can have serious consequences, such as ruining your credit score, etc.

It is not an easy task, but the following tips may help speed up the process or make things simpler:

1. Make sure you don’t ignore the debt and always keep a positive mental attitude. This task requires a lot of determination and commitment. Thinking about the future, considering the fact that once paid off, a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders, will provide mental satisfaction and determination to not give up.

2. It’s also important to know the repayment guidelines and understand your loans according to a set plan.

3. One must be fully prepared to sacrifice anything in order to meet goals; needs should always come before wants. Make sure you save before you spend.

4. Make a monthly budget. Calculate all your expenditures beforehand and keep some money under miscellaneous expenditures to cover up for any unexpected expenses that may result from emergency situations, etc.

5. Try making payments while you’re still at college. This will not only help you pay off your loan faster, it will also help you get in the habit of paying off your loan before you spend on anything unnecessary.

6. Make use of your grace period. You’re likely to have one of up to six months if you’ve taken a federal student loan. Use this time to save up for when you don’t have enough money to make a payment.

7. Income Based Repayment Plans will allow you to pay based on what you earn and not what your payment is actually supposed to be. This will help you maintain financial stability while you still keep paying your student loan.