Benefits of Online Shopping Directory Services

With the rapid growth of the Internet, one of most prominent services made available through the Internet is Online Shopping. Regular shoppers, who used to go to a physical store to search for products and compare prices, are now rushing to online shopping stores due to the inherent advantages they provide. For these online shoppers, the tool that helps them to perform an effective online shopping is Online Shopping Directory services. Some others identify these services as Price Comparison Services.

Similar to any other directory service, Online Shopping Directory lists products which are available to be purchased online. These product listings represent different vendors, categories, brands, etc. The benefit of an Online Shopping Directory is twofold. While these services help shoppers to easily find the products they are looking for, they also help sellers to list their products. It is worthwhile to find out what benefits these services provide for shoppers and vendors.

Benefits for Online Shoppers:

The online shopper, who can be a veteran or a newbie, will find an Online Shopping Directory a very useful service to search for the product that they are looking for and perfect to assist their home shopping. Before the final purchasing decision is made, an average shopper spends a considerable amount of time searching for the product having an affordable price, acceptable quality. Not only price and quality, many other factors like guarantee terms, return policy, warranty, and delivery time are also critical to make the final decision. Shopping directory will provide most of this information with varying degree to the shopper to make an informed decision.

Since there are many different products available for the specification that the shopper is looking for, the shopper has a greater flexibility to cross compare these similar products using various aspects such as brand, quality, price, user ratings, warranty, etc. This will drastically reduce the effort and time to find the right product and also make online shopping a pleasurable experience.

Any online shopper would like to find the best bargain available for the product they are looking for. Online Shopping Directories again become handy to find the best bargain since they provide the best online shopping deals available on the Internet. Make a note to find a directory which has regular updates so the deals you will get are up to date.

Benefits for Vendors:

Vendors will also find that online shopping directories are an ideal place to list the products available from their online shop. One of the key benefits is the user base of these directories. By listing a product, vendors will instantly get access to this large user database which will definitely increase the traffic to vendor products. Since online shopping directories provide searches for shoppers to filter the products they are looking for, there is a higher possibility of getting your product information indexed to potential buyers.

Another benefit of an Online Shopping Directory is the indirect exposure of your product listings through the affiliate services provided by the Online Shopping Directories. These affiliations will expose the products listings of the Shopping Directory through the affiliate web sites making a network of listings. This will again increase the chances of selling your products.

To harness these benefits, vendor must make sure that the product details such as short, long descriptions, features, benefits which are provided to the online shopping directory are properly articulated. Also verify that the keywords which you think your product should be listed with are included in the descriptions. By having the right content as well as adhering to the online shopping directory submission guidelines, the traffic to your product listing can be increased.

Can all these benefits be gained at an affordable price? The answer is yes. In fact most Online Shopping Directory services provide free listing of products and services. If you are owner of any number of online shops, it is worthwhile to consider these benefits and harness the true potential of an Online Shopping Directory to market your products.

To conclude, Online Shopping Directory is a great way to list products as well as to search for products to buy. If you are a regular shopper or a seller, the best practice is to spend some time to find the best Online Shopping Directories out there on the Internet having a wide range of products, larger user base and up to date information. Some online shopping directories are targeted to specific shopping market segments such as online shopping UK, US online shopping, etc. By knowing what market segment a particular online directory focuses on will help you to find the product or to sell your product easily.

Personal Branding: The Lighthouse Branding Model

More and more people are talking about the importance of personal branding, both in career searching and in career development. Effective personal branding not only makes you stand out from the crowd to employers and recruiters, it can also increase your job security by communicating your value as a leader and team player to your organization.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the process of identifying the unique and differentiating value that you bring to an organization, team and/or project and communicating it in a professionally memorable and consistent manner in all of your actions, both online and offline, to all current and prospective stakeholders in your career.

The Lighthouse Personal Branding Model

The lighthouse is a great model for breaking down the branding process into four key steps: the foundation, the beacon, the tower and the beam.

Foundation:

Your foundation is your unarguable strengths and experience in your chosen area. To identify your own foundation, write down the strengths that differentiate you from the rest and ask your friends, family and colleagues/managers to do the same for you. Identify the top three to five overlapping strengths that support the career direction you want to pursue.

Beacon:

Your beacon is the memorable and consistent communication of your strengths and experience. Now that you have identified your foundation, it’s time to create your beacon by finding a word or phrase that represents these strengths and can become your brand. Develop a short pitch that can follow your brand, describing your strengths in more detail. Ensure that your word or phrase is versatile and can change with your direction.

Tower:

Simply put, your tower is your visibility, reach and presentation, both online and offline, which support the beacon. This is really everything you do to proactively build your personal brand. The higher you build your tower with your efforts, the more visible you will be to potential career stakeholders. Here are some ways to proactively build your brand and credibility in front of your target audience:

Create a LinkedIn profile and follow the suggested steps to complete your profile 100 percent, making sure you include your personal brand and pitch in your subtitle and summary sections.

Create a Google account and profile for improved search engine optimization.

Include your personal brand on your resume, cover letter, business cards, email signature, voicemail message and across your other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Consider creating a personal website/blog site where you can house all of your information, including experience, education, skills, honors, entrepreneurial efforts and more.

Start your own blog with a unique point of view on your industry/area of interest.

Contribute value in your book or product reviews, your tweets, your comments on other blog posts, your own blog articles or articles for print publications, your discussions in LinkedIn Groups and your advice via LinkedIn Answers or other forums.

Start a company full-time or on the side with relevant and valuable products/services/resources for the industry.

Publish and offer print and/or electronic publications.

Get quoted in the media by joining HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and contributing advice, experiences and insights to writers and journalists seeking expert sources.
Beam:

Your beam is your career direction and more active personal branding and career search strategy. It involves you gaining and projecting a strong understanding of where you want to go, what you want to pursue and how you will pursue it. First, you need to determine what functional area, geography and industries/companies you want to target. Then, you need to actively network your brand with potential career stakeholders. Here are some ways to start:

Join associations or networking groups within your industry and attend events to meet new contacts and build your target network. Be sure to share your personal brand with those new contacts.

Conduct informational interviews with target network contacts (whether or not you’re seeking a job) and share your personal brand with them in your introductions.

Find ways to bring fellow industry thought leaders together on a project or at an event.

Find ways to contribute to the projects or events of fellow industry experts.

Get recommended on LinkedIn and display testimonials from customers, clients and partners
Personal Application

I used this model to help develop my own personal brand during my MBA career search. Having identified my foundation to be my endless energy, out-of-the-box creativity, relationship building and problem solving, I looked for a word that could pull all of those strengths together into one memorable brand message. The beacon I chose was “generator” as I generate energy, creativity, relationships and solutions to problems. I was pursuing a career in marketing and brand management, and therefore, I became a brand and marketing generator. I proactively built my tower by incorporating my brand directly into my online profiles, my resumes and my entrepreneurial efforts. I then took a more active approach, targeting the “beam” by incorporating my personal brand in my interview responses, networking introductions and informational interview outreach. It was this process that helped me successfully secure my current employment, and this model continues to help guide all of my professional and entrepreneurial ventures.

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