TIME LINE OF MONEY

TIME LINE OF MONEY

No rights of gain unless everybody gains – Plato

The history of humans using cash currency does go back a very long time .From upper Palaeolithic period, the primitive men used exchange of goods and engaged in trade along with barter system. Money measures a method of payment, a standard of value, a store of wealth and unit of account. Over its vast history, money has been central to developing the trade network and for the progress of business world. The Journey of currency travelled from Mesopotamian shekel emerged nearly 5000 years ago to present Crypto and digital currencies.

In ancient civilisations the coins were manufactured from copper and the iron because they were strong materials used to make weapons and the monetary value of currencies was based on the value of the metal from which they were made. Coinage era boost trade in ancient world and it treated as trusted medium of exchange. Later on precious metals such as gold, lead, silver were used for minting coins and standardised forms of coins were first used by Lydians, who become the first culture to make coins. In India coins were minted firstly in 6th century BC by the Mahajanpadas ( republic kingdoms of ancient India) known as puranas but with irregular shapes, standard weight and later many kingdoms includes Mauryas, Turkish sultans of Delhi, Mughal empires followed their own and distinct currency system and minting of coins.

Its interesting fact that shell money was also served as a legal currency until 19th/20th century in different parts of Asia and Africa. In ancient Mayan civilisation cocoa beans and chocolate had evolved to become a currency. In Roman ancient empire a person who owned a salt production site was very wealthy and sometimes salt also used as a currency. In human history polished stones, dried banana leaves rings and jewellery, beaver pelts, cocaine, buckskins, whale’s teeth etc was also used in different parts of the world

Paper money and bank notes was fist used in china during song dynasty, between 960 -1279.The convenience of transactions provided by the issuance of bank notes allowed notes used for exchange to become widespread and commonly accepted business practice. In the 18th century, the bank of Hindustan general bank in Bengal issue paper currency firstly issued in British India

After World War II and the Bretton woods conference most countries adopted “fiat money” whose value was determined according to the USD. In turn, the USD was determined by reference to gold.IN 1971, the US government ended the convertibility of dollar in to gold to help combat the great depression, and today majority of the money worldwide stopped being backed by gold reserves.

In India RBI started in 1935 empowered with bank note production. RBI issued bank notes which carrying the portrait of George VI and after independence, new notes were designed with the image of Lion capital of Ashoka, the national emblem replaced the portrait of George VI.RBI issued Mahatma Gandhi Series in 1996 which replaced all bank notes issued before 1996 and in 2016 Central government demonetised 500 and 1000 rupee notes and introduced new 500,2000,50,100 rupee notes.

The plastic money also plays a vital post in present era and the introduction of debit cards and credit cards acquired popularity and user acceptance at a rapid place. But in future such cards and ATM machines may become totally redundant. APBS ( Aadhaar Payment Bridge system) could be an alternate transaction method as a unique Aadhaar ID linked to their bank accounts and emerge as an alternate platform. Banks can get connect to NPCI (National payment corporation of India) either through NPCI Net or Internet.

The latest revolution in the way we use the money is digital currencies and crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum etc but still chaos exist the future lies in it. Concern over security breaches and regulatory uncertainty were cited as major reasons for the lack of mainstream enthusiasm in digital coins. Apart from the medium of payment such digital currencies is also an investment instrument, like stocks or precious metals and due to its volatile nature, the value fluctuate in tune with real world events. Such investment may difficult to track the value for auditing and accounting purposes and undisclosed investment in cryptos may cause to increase the money laundering. Web based wallets allow access to bit coins from anywhere and the paper wallets that don’t actually store your bitcoin at all, but give you the ability to set up a private key and address to receive funds for later retrieval.

RBI has repeatedly cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including various risks associated with dealing with such virtual currencies. The quote from the union budget 2018-19

“ The government does not consider crypto currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto assets in financing illegitimate activities or as the part of payment system. The government will exposure use of block chain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy”

That there may be reasonable steps to be taken to impose taxes on the profits earned through trading cryptos. It may be difficult to complete ban trade on crypto currecies and such digital currencies in India but reasonable measures can be taken and necessary directions can be issued by RBI and in future it may be required to enact a law for digital currencies.

The nature of money and wealth changed in each period according to the society needs and life style of persons and its impact on economy and polity. The future may be a world without cash because our world is growing increasingly digital. Technological based companies push the reality of cashless society to the mainstream. Governments all over the world are also taking steps to advance the cashless narrative. Digital currencies can be designed by central banks for user identities and transaction data to be authenticated and adhering due diligence procedures. Due to the increasing trend of e-commerce such currencies are more advisable to facilitate such online and digital services. A global currency may allow to serve mass people, more access and to move faster around the world. The cashless economy would be a financial revolution in modern era.

The future money may be digital, with the concept of creating assets and liabilities but without any real exchange of any material stuffs of any such kind.

The life of money making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking: for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else – Aristotle

 

 

Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Sexual harassment exists in almost every sector and industry, but it’s astonishing that most companies turn a blind eye or are often ignorant about such an important compliance. The only way to combat it is by increasing awareness and knowledge. Sexual Harassment is one issue that has probably plagued every institution, big or small. Unfortunately, it still remains one of the most unreported offences of all times. Although, campaigns like #MeToo acted as an eye-opener, sexual harassment at the workplace still remains behind the closed doors of glass cabins.

What is Sexual Harassment?

In simple words, sexual harassment at workplace is an act or a pattern of behaviour that compromises physical, emotional or financial safety and security of a woman worker. Sexual harassment has been identified as a term which is difficult to define as it involves a range of behaviours. Efforts have been made at both national and international levels to define this term effectively. often, the term is subjected to different interpretations. Some believe that it is better not to mingle with female colleagues so that one does not get embroiled in a sexual harassment complaint. The reality of sexual harassment incidents at the workplace is that there is more to worry about under-reporting, than people misusing the law.

In 1997, in the landmark judgment of Vishaka and others v. State of Rajasthan[1], the Supreme Court of India defined sexual harassment at the workplace, pronounced preventive, prohibitory and redress measures, and gave directives towards a legislative mandate to the guidelines proposed.

Sexual Harassment includes many things:

• Physical conduct of a sexual nature that includes all unwanted physical contact,
o ranging from touching,
o to sexual assault and rape, and
o includes a strip search by or in the presence of the opposite sex.

• Verbal forms of sexual harassment that includes;
o unwelcome insinuations,
o suggestions and hints,
o sexual advances,
o comments with sexual overtones,
o sex-related jokes or insults,
o or unwelcome graphic comments about a person’s body made in their presence or directed toward them,
o unwelcome and inappropriate enquiries about a person’s sex life, and
o unwelcome whistling directed at a person or group of persons.

• Non-verbal forms of sexual harassment including;
o unwelcome gestures,
o indecent exposure, and
o the unwelcome display of sexually explicit pictures and objects.
o Making or posting sexually demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons or other materials in the workplace
o Giving gifts or leaving objects that are sexually suggestive

• Quid pro quo harassment occurs where an owner, employer, supervisor, member of management or co-employee, undertakes or attempts to influence the process of employment, promotion, training, discipline, dismissal, salary increase or other benefits of an employee or job applicant, in exchange for sexual favours.

What the law says?

The safety of the people shall be the highest law of the land. The judiciary is the pillar for justice as it not only provides redressal mechanisms, but it also punishes the offender. The law on sexual harassment has mushroomed and nurtured after the 1997 landmark decision of the Supreme Court in the Vishaka v State of Rajasthan.
While hearing the matter, the Supreme Court noted the lack of legal recourse against sexual harassment at workplace. The Supreme Court defined what would constitute sexual harassment at workplace and issued guidelines that were to have statutory value until a proper law was enacted by Parliament.

Before the Supreme Court set the law against sexual harassment at workplace in order, such cases were dealt under IPC Section 354 (outraging the modesty of women) and Section 509 (using a word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).

In 2013, substantial changes were made in the way sexual harassment was viewed within the criminal justice system in India. The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013, which commenced on April 3, 2013, included Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 that defined sexual harassment. The India Penal Code, 1860 has also defined the term sexual harassment and related offences and put forth punishments for the same:

Section 354A- Sexual harassment is: unwelcome physical contact and advances, including unwanted and explicit sexual overtures, a demand or request for sexual favors, showing someone sexual images (pornography) without their consent, and making unwelcome sexual remarks
Punishment: Up to three years in prison, and a fine.

Section 354B– Forcing a woman to undress.

Punishment: From three to seven years in prison, and a fine.

Section 354C– Watching or capturing images of a woman without her consent (voyeurism).

Punishment: First conviction – one to three years in prison and a fine. More than conviction–three to seven years in prison and a fine.

Section 354D– Following a woman and contacting her or trying to contact her despite her saying she does not want contact. Monitoring a woman using the internet or any other form of electronic communication (stalking).

Punishment: First conviction – up to three years in prison and a fine. More than one conviction–up to five years in prison and a fine.

The same definition is given in the law enacted specifically for Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013.

However societal attitudes towards sexual harassment has impeded any effective implementation of the law.

Why not reporting?

Though sexual harassment at the workplace has assumed serious proportions, women do not report the matter to the concerned authorities in most cases due to fear of reprisal from the harasser, losing one’s livelihood, being stigmatized, or losing professional standing and personal reputation.

How can a company create a safe work environment?

Many practical steps can be taken, as part of an integrated program, to counter harassment:

1) A clear policy from management

Management must develop a clear definition of, and policy on sexual harassment.
Concerned people should also help to make the need for such policies known.

2) Awareness of the problem, and of own, and others’ rights

Managers and all employees (male and female) must become aware of the problems inherent in harassment, and must know how to handle it.
If a clear policy exists and is well promoted, both the person being harassed, and the person considering harassing someone, will know what the individual’s rights are – what’s acceptable, and what isn’t; also where the person being harassed can lodge a complaint.

3) Complaints and disciplinary procedure

There must be clear guidelines on reporting and disciplinary procedures in cases of harassment, and these must be communicated to all staff members.
Appropriate staff members can be selected, appointed and trained as complaints officers with authority to institute disciplinary measures when necessary.
In large companies, counsellors can be appointed and trained to provide support and to give advice to staff who are sexually harassed or to counsel harassers if required. These may be the same people as the complaints officers, and could possibly also sensitise and train managers and supervisors in the implementation of the policy.

4) Education

Employers should include the issue of sexual harassment in their orientation, training and education programmes of employees.

5) Confidentiality

Grievances regarding sexual harassment must be handled in a confidential manner in regards to both parties:
Only appropriate parties (appropriate management, the aggrieved and their representatives, the alleged perpetrator and their representatives, witnesses and an interpreter if necessary) may be present in disciplinary enquiries.
It must be ensured that either party (or their representative) receives necessary information to enable them to prepare for any proceedings outlined by the company code of conduct.

6) Other supporting measures

Confidence training and development of a healthy self-esteem will help employees to deal with harassers.
An effective employment equity programme, that ensures well-planned career paths for all – based on merit, while also ensuring that people disadvantaged in the past get a fair deal – will reduce the vulnerability of individuals to harassment by people who abuse their power and authority.

A positive corporate culture, in which the rights and dignity of all staff members are respected, and a positive example is set by management, will do much to create a healthy environment in which sexual harassment can’t flourish.

Employees’ Rights and Responsibilities

Any employee who believes he or she has been the target of sexual harassment is encouraged to inform the offending person orally or in writing that such conduct is unwelcome and offensive and must stop. Complaint on sexual harassment at the workplace must be made by the aggrieved woman within a period of three months from the date of occurrence of an incident. In case of a series of an incident, within a period of three months from the date of last incident.

The complaint must be made in writing and submitted to the Internal Complaint Committee and be sent either by post or given in person. The Internal Complaint Committee also has the powers to extend the time-limit for reporting by not more than three months, if it is satisfied that the circumstances were such which prevented the employee from filing a complaint within the three-month period.

If the employee does not wish to communicate directly with the offending person, or if such communication has been ineffective, the employee has multiple avenues for reporting allegations of sexual harassment and/or pursuing resolution, complaint can be filed by:

• Her relative or friend.
• Her co-worker.
• An officer of the National Commission for Women or State Women’s Commission.
• Any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of the aggrieved woman.

If an aggrieved woman is unable to make a written complaint by herself on account of her mental incapacity, a complaint can be filed by:

• Her relative or friend.
• A special educator.
• A qualified psychiatrist or psychologist.
• The guardian or authority under whose care she is receiving treatment or care.
• Any person who has knowledge of the incident jointly with her relative or friend or a special education or qualified psychiatrist or psychologist or guardian or authority under whose care she is receiving treatment or care.
• Finally, if an aggrieved woman is unable to make a written complaint by herself on account of her mental incapacity or physical incapacity or death, a complaint can be filed by her legal heir.

Employer Rights and Responsibilities

• Provide a safe working environment at the workplace which shall include safety from the persons coming into contact at the workplace;
• Display at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassments; and the order constituting, the Internal Committee under sub-section (1) of section 4 of the Act providing that every employer of a workplace shall, by an order in writing, constitute a Committee to be known as the “Internal Complaints Committee”: Provided that where the offices or administrative units of the workplace are located at different places or divisional or sub-divisional level, the Internal Committee shall be constituted at all administrative units or offices;
• Organise workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitising the employees with the provisions of the Act and orientation programmes for the members of the Internal Committee in the manner as may be prescribed;
• Provide necessary facilities to the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, for dealing with the complaint and conducting an enquiry;
• Assist in securing the attendance of respondent and witnesses before the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be;
• Make available such information to the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, as it may require having regard to the complaint made.
• Provide assistance to the woman if she so chooses to file a complaint in relation to the offence under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force;
• Cause to initiate action, under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 or any other law for the time being in force, against the perpetrator, or if the aggrieved woman so desires, where the perpetrator is not an employee, in the workplace at which the incident of sexual harassment took place;
• Treat sexual harassment as a misconduct under the service rules and initiate action for such misconduct;
• Monitor the timely submission of reports by the Internal Committee.

Impact on Organization

• Financial impact: The biggest challenge that any sexual harassment case brings for a company is undoubtedly the financial repercussions. This happens because of absenteeism, low productivity, and staff turnover as a result of sexual harassment. It’s not just non-compliance penalty, but also settlement costs at a later point in time.

• Distortion of public image: Continuous media lynching at even the mere speculation of a sexual harassment case can tarnish a company’s reputation. With the upsurge of social media and never-ending media debates, the trouble has increased manifold. It is undeniable that any company primarily runs on its goodwill. With this loss of reputation, a company may find it tough to crawl out of the pit.

• Effect on work production: A recent study reveals that if an employee has faced sexual harassment at the workplace, their output will certainly be affected. This is a no-brainer, but this phenomenon is not restricted to the victim alone. Sexual harassment at any workplace also creates a lot of insecurity, disloyalty, and disharmony among other employees as well. This leads to a situation of lesser work production and acts as a huge impediment to the company’s progress.

So, what can you do if you’re experiencing sexual harassment at work?

• Be clear and firm. If the person harassing you is told when it happens the first time that you don’t approve and don’t find it funny, they might back off. Be polite, but firm, and don’t giggle. This might be interpreted as a tacit type of consent.
• Say “No” Clearly. Tell the person that his/her behaviour offends you. Firmly refuse all invitations. If the harassment doesn’t end promptly, ask the harasser to stop and put it in writing. Keep a copy of this written communication.
• Write Down What Happened. As soon as you experience sexual harassment, start writing it down. Write down dates, places, times, and possible witnesses to what happened. If possible, ask your co-workers to write down what they saw or heard, especially if the same thing is happening to them. Remember that others may (and probably will) read this written record at some point. It is a good idea to keep the record at home or in some other safe place. Do not keep the record at work.
• Tell others. Don’t keep quiet; this will only make you more vulnerable. Harassers like isolating their victims – physically and socially. If you tell others what’s going on you might also find out that you’re not the only one experiencing such situations. If more than one person lays a complaint, it significantly strengthens the case against the harasser.
• Don’t doubt yourself. Harassers often try and pass something off as a joke, however, if it’s continuously at your expense, or attacks your sense of dignity, you’re being harassed. Don’t allow harassers to make you doubt your observation, how their actions make you feel or that you’re overreacting.
• Safety in numbers. Make sure that you’re not alone with this person behind closed doors. Take a colleague with you if you feel threatened, and insist that doors be left open if you have to be in a meeting. Make sure that somebody knows where you are at all times.
• Report The Harassment. If it is possible for you to do so, tell your supervisor, your human resources department or some other department or person within your organization who has the power to stop the harassment. If you can, it is best to put your complaint in writing.
• Start A Paper Trail. When you report the sexual harassment to your employer, do it in writing. Describe the problem and how you want it fixed. This creates a written record of when you complained and what happened in response to it. Keep copies of everything you send and receive from your employer.
• Find Out About Your Employer’s Grievance And Complaint Procedures. Many employers have policies and procedures written down that deal with how to make and respond to sexual harassment complaints. To find out your employer’s policies, look for or ask to see a copy of your employee manual, any written personnel policies, and/or speak to someone in the human resources department, if one exists. You may be able to use these procedures to stop the harassment and resolve the problem. At the very least, following your employer’s complaint procedures (if any exist) will show that you did what you could to make the employer aware of the harassment.
• Involve Your Union. If you belong to a union, you may want to file a formal grievance through the union and try to get a shop steward or other union official to help you work through the grievance process. Get a copy of your collective bargaining agreement to see if it discusses the problems you are experiencing. Keep in mind that if you use your union’s grievance procedure, you must still file a complaint (or “charge”) of discrimination with a government agency before filing a lawsuit in court.
• Be Aware of Deadlines! Do not delay in reporting the problem to your employer, if it is possible to do so. If you start to feel that your employer’s process for dealing with the sexual harassment may not help you, be aware that doing nothing could mean losing your rights! This is very important! There are legal deadlines for filing a formal complaint or charge of discrimination with government agencies, and you cannot bring a lawsuit against your employer unless you have first filed a complaint with the court or the agency that enforces your state’s employment discrimination laws.

Some Myth and Facts about Sexual Harassment

Myth Fact

 

Only certain types of people harass others People of all types and in all kinds of occupation have been founded to be harassers. They can be people in power, co-workers and even subordinates.
Sexual Harassment is ‘natural’ male behaviour. Man is the hunter and women the prey. Men are not born knowing how to sexually harass others. It’s learned within the context of a sexist and patriarchal environment that perpetuates control over women sexuality, fertility and labour.
Women don’t rape Women can also be sexual aggressors
Men who rape are ‘psychos’ Men who rape are mostly ordinary, everyday guys.
Harassment will stop if a person just ignores it Harassers often believe that if a person ignores inappropriate / harassing behavior, that’s proof that the behavior is welcome. Many times, the behavior escalates and turn ugly

Every employer should recognize the right of every employee and volunteer to be able to attend work and to perform their duties without being subjected to any form of sexual harassment. It is the obligation and responsibility of every employee and volunteer to ensure that the workplace is free from sexual harassment.

Green wind solutions will help your company to frame a sexual Harassment policy and guidelines for your company intends to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and matters related to it.

5 Ways the Job Market Will Change in 2018

Getting a new job is always a popular New Year’s resolutions. What better way to get a jump on that resolution than by learning the most influential job market trends for the upcoming year?

Glassdoor recently revealed five labor market trends that will change the way companies attract, hire and retain employees in 2018.

1. AI is changing the future of work.
This should come as no surprise, but AI and automation stand to make a huge impact in nearly every facet of the workforce, but most especially in human resources and finance.

2. Mobile job applications are getting a modern overhaul.
If you’ve applied for jobs recently, then you know that most application processes and tracking systems seem like relics from the Stone Age, which often make applying for jobs from mobile devices incredibly frustrating. Mobile apply is due for a serious and complete overhaul in 2018. Unfortunately, it will probably take a while for us to see the end results.

3. Healthcare, tech and labor-intensive roles will grow.
Job creation in 2018 is being driven not only by continuous tech innovations, which will also continue to expand into non-tech industries, but also by significant demographic shifts as well. Many traditional jobs that can’t be easily automated in the near future – such as restaurant waiters, construction workers, and truck drivers – will continue to grow and be a significant source for jobs.

4. The application and interview process will become increasingly transparent.
While workplaces have strived to increase transparency over the last couple of years, the online job application process remains clear as mud. In 2018, job seekers can expect increased visibility in the application process with real-time application status updates.

5. Employees will be encouraged to explore their passions through role experimentation.
To help reduce turnover and better match proven talent with the most productive roles, more and more companies are looking to create ways to support employee aspirations outside vertical trajectories through role experimentation. This establishes clearer pathways for internal lateral job moves that tap into employees’ changing skills and passions.

Tips for job seekers
Based on the research conducted by Glassdoor’s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain, it seems the best bet for job seekers looking to get ahead in the new year is customizing their resumes and cover letters as much as possible. With AI and automation infiltrating the HR industry, the software used to sift through the increasing number of resumes is about to become much more sophisticated. Ensure your resume has the highest probability of being seen by tailoring it as much as possible to match the criteria employers are looking for.

You should also focus on doing extensive research on your potential employers. Because companies are becoming more transparent with their job requirements as well as providing greater insights into company culture and expectations, take advantage of the information available and research the position you’re applying for as much as possible.

How artificial intelligence is changing business in every industry

Artificial Intelligence (AI), once a notion confined to Sci-Fi novels, movies and research papers, is now making a tremendous impact on society.The Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy initiative explores the growing use of artificial intelligence in the business landscape. The exploration looks specifically at how AI is affecting the development and execution of strategy in organizations.
Today, there are numerous applications of artificial intelligence in the consumer and business spaces, from Apple’s Siri to Google’s DeepMind. Siri, for example, uses natural language processing (NLP) to interpret voice commands and respond accordingly. Google’s DeepMind, on the other hand, uses deep learning. It is capable of making connections and reaching meanings without relying on predefined behavioral algorithms, instead learning from experience and using raw data as its inputs. In fact, by applying findings from DeepMind, Google was able to improve the efficiency of its own power centers, reducing the energy used for cooling by 40%.
In the business world, artificial intelligence is enabling businesses to work smarter and faster, doing more with significantly less. As technology and society continue to advance, more organisations are looking for powerful, sophisticated solutions that will improve and streamline operations.
But it’s important to appreciate that artificial intelligence is an umbrella under which a number of different technologies reside. Machine learning, deep learning, robotics, computer vision, cognitive computing, artificial general intelligence, natural language processing and knowledge reasoning are just some of the main branches of artificial intelligence.
The current state of artificial intelligence
However, many of the applications of artificial intelligence we see today are considered to be ‘weak AI’ because we have yet to release their true potential. Weak AI, also known as ‘narrow AI’, is non-sentient artificial intelligence, which focuses on one task alone. The applications of artificial
intelligence that are currently available need to be taught or directed in order to provide the insight a user needs.
Strong AI, on the other hand, refers to artificial intelligence applications that can readily formulate their own decisions without human input, apply intelligence to multiple problems, and function and behave more like a human. We are quite some way off strong AI.
Yet despite current AI solutions not being ‘true’ artificial intelligence, the benefits and capabilities they provide are extraordinary – and many industries have already incorporated some form of artificial intelligence into their day-to-day processes.
Current industries applying artificial intelligence to day-to-day operations
In some industries, AI is capable of automating business intelligence and analytics processes, providing a holistic end-to-end solution. In others, computer vision is being deployed to map and navigate terrain, contributing to the development of smart, self-driving cars that are learning to drive as humans do. Below are just a few examples of how AI is being used to improve efficiency:
• Banking and Finance – fraud detection
Many banks use the various applications of artificial intelligence to detect fraudulent activity. The AI software is given a very large sample of data that includes fraudulent and non-fraudulent purchases and is trained to determine whether a transaction is valid based on data. Over time, the software becomes incredibly adept at spotting fraudulent transactions based on what it has learned previously.
• Retail – online customer support
Many websites now offer some form of ‘chat’ functionality where you can talk to a customer support representative or sales representative. In most instances, it is some form of automated AI that begins these conversations. As these AI chat bots are capable of understanding natural language, i.e. human conversation, they can readily assist customers in finding out what they need to know, extracting information from the website, and directing them to the appropriate web page or person for further support.
• Security
As cyber-attacks increase in frequency and more sophisticated tools are used to breach cyber defenses, human operators are no longer enough. Top firms across the world are investing heavily in cyber security to ensure their data is protected. Real-time threat detection, mitigation, and ideally, prevention, are what’s needed for businesses – and AI can deliver. Using machine learning algorithms and feeding those algorithms great quantities of data, IT and security experts can teach the AI solution to monitor behavior, detect anomalies, adapt and respond to threats and issue alerts. AI has quickly become a key component in a business’ cyber security infrastructure, providing a multi-layered security strategy that is robust and sophisticated.
How AI Affects App Development
Check the Instagram explore page under the or you’ tab. Chances are, you’ll find a number of accounts to follow that are interesting and surprisingly tailored towards your interests. This is one of the simplest examples of AI – predictive reasoning.
Instagram’s AI is analyzing what accounts you follow, what accounts you visit, and what posts you like, every time you use the app. It then takes that data to create suggestions of who you should follow on the explore page. This kind of AI within apps has become commonplace today, with everything from Amazon Go to the Starbucks app integrating similar predictive reasoning based suggestive AI features.
This is just a small example of how AI has drastically impacted app development – no longer do app developers need to create complex codes to create generic explore pages. Now, an AI can constantly update and create new user experiences specifically tailored to each user of the app – this makes AI quite possibly the most powerful marketing tool that apps can use in today’s business environment. But it’s not just app development that is affected by AI.
How AI Affects the Travel Industry
You know how every time you book a flight, the nearest hotels and restaurants are recommended to you, ordered by price and location? That’s an AI trying to help out. Much in the same way apps use AI, the travel and tourism industry thrives on AI and localization to make travel experiences better.
From camping to five star hotels, travel websites and supply stores will often use AI to help you plan your trip. In fact, there are downloadable travel AI concierges, called chatbots, that will directly help you plan your trip, whether it’s in buying the best tent for a given price range, or in arranging the best suite to stay in at the Cosmopolitan.
AI has revolutionized the travel industry, scouring the internet to consistently give you the best and most educated decisions to make your travel experiences as painless as possible. In fact, AI can also impact services such as debt collection.
How AI Affects Debt Collection
People almost always cite debt collection as a consistent stressor in their lives. AI automates the debt collection process, sending emails, texts, and pre-recorded calls to customers. Although this sounds like the norm, it results in customers feeling much less harassed by debt collection agencies. No longer do they receive five phone calls throughout their work day, instead they simply receive one call and one email, tailored to match their schedule by AI.
AI in the debt collection agency is a fantastic example of how AI can actually make life easier for the people affected by it. The success of AI in this industry alone, and the improvements it has made for customers in this industry, should remove some of the stigma surrounding AI.
How AI Affects Retail
Have you ever shopped on a site and bought a pair of camo pants, only to see a blurb pop up recommending other military clothing products via a message like customers who bought these pants also loved these shirts!’ If you have, that’s AI at work once again. That’s what Aussie Disposals implemented on their store, and they love what their AI developers did.
Although Amazon is the easiest example of this phenomenon, most online retail stores now feature an AI that tracks and evaluates your shopping habits to recommend new items to you. This is just another example of how AI can improve customer service.
How AI Affects IT Service Management and Software Development
From customer support to software development, AI has its uses. To begin, AI is an effective way of troubleshooting basic problems, making it a useful customer support tool in IT service management.
Serving in a more complicated niche, AI can also help software engineers develop new products. From running tests faster than an engineer ever could, to predictive reasoning-based problem solving, AI is rapidly becoming a primary tool in software development. AI is also extremely useful in analyzing data stored in cloud storage tools and using that data to create advantages for everyone from software engineers to business owners.
And speaking of AI in software…
AI in AR and VR
AR and VR have made leaps and bounds, and AI can only help. AI has the potential to take AR and VR apps to the next level by tailoring these experiences to specific users according to their habits. This ability only further cements AI as a staple of the app development industry in the modern world.

Preparing for the integration of AI-based solutions across departments
Organisations that respond rapidly to opportunities in artificial intelligence application will have the advantage in the landscape of the future. But, because AI is evolving rapidly, the challenge is to ensure that the business has the necessary strategies and plans to support AI capabilities as they become available, and the right technical infrastructure to support AI implementation. For many businesses, it’s not a question of if but rather when to adopt AI. On that basis, monitoring the development of AI technology and planning far in advance is necessary to adopt AI successfully.
The optimum strategy is to observe, learn and experiment with current AI. Investing too much into AI which turns out to be ineffective will be damaging for the business’ adoption and utilization of future AI-based solutions. Instead, try to determine how your business can benefit from AI – and how it can be built into core processes to drive efficiency. Start with the outcomes you want to achieve to modernize your IT environment. Remember, AI won’t necessarily replace human operators any time soon, but it will empower organisations to do much, much more.
In Conclusion…
It is not a stretch to say that AI has found a use in every industry. Whether it be for simple tasks such as suggesting products or providing customers with basic customer service, or for complicated measures such as running software tests and completing extensive problem-solving procedures for industries such as debt collection, AI has found its place in our world, and it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay.

Types of GST Returns and their Due Dates

Latest updates on Due date changes
as announced on 10th Sept 2018:
1. Extension of Due date for GSTR-3B only for newly migrated taxpayers for months July 2017 to Nov 2018 till 31st December 2018. The due dates remain unchanged for rest of the taxpayers.
2. Extension of Due date for GSTR-1 in case of taxpayers with turnover above Rs 1.5 crores in previous FY or Current FY
a. Regular taxpayers : for months from July 2017 to September 2018 extended till the 31st October 2018.
b. Newly migrated taxpayers : for months from July 2017 to November 2018 extended till the 31st December 2018.
3. Extension of Due date for GSTR-1 in case of taxpayers with turnover upto Rs 1.5 crores in previous FY or Current FY
a. Regular taxpayers :
Quarter New Due date
July – September 2017 31st October 2018
October – December 2017 31st October 2018
January – March 2018 31st October 2018
April – June 2018 31st October 2018
July – September 2018 31st October 2018
October – December 2018 31st January 2019
January – March 2019 30th April 2019
b. Newly migrated taxpayers : For all quarters from July 2017 to September 2018 extended till 31st December 2018.
c. For flood-affected regions of Kodagu, Mahe and Kerala : Above table of dates remain the same except for quarter July 2018 to September 2018 extended till 15th November 2018.
4. Due date of TRAN-1 and TRAN-2 is extended for certain taxpayers who could not complete filing due to tech glitch, to 31st March 2019 and 30th April 2019 respectively.
Due Dates based on Latest Orders and Notifications
GSTR-1
Quarterly Returns (Taxpayers with Annual Turnover upto Rs. 1.5 Crore can opt for quarterly return filing)
Period (Quarterly) Due dates

Jan- Mar 30th April 2018
Apr-June 2018 31st July 2018
July-Sept 2018 31st Oct 2018

For turnover of more than Rs 1.5 cr
Period Dates
July to Nov 10th Jan 2018
Dec 10th Feb 2018
Jan 2018 10th Mar 2018
Feb 2018 10th Apr 2018
March 2018 10th May 2018
April 2018 31st May 2018
May 2018 10th June 2018
June 2018 10th July 2018
July 2018 11th August 2018
August 2018 11th Sept 2018
GSTR-2 and GSTR-3
GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 filing currently suspended
GSTR-3B
• GSTR-3B has been extended to March 2019
• All businesses have to file GSTR-3B by 20th of next month until March 2019.

GSTR-4
Due date for the quarter April 2018 to June 2018 is 18th July 2018
Due date for the quarter July 2018 to Sept 2018 is 18th Oct 2018
GSTR-5
8
Due date for Aug 2018 is 20th Sept 2018
GSTR-5A
Due date for Aug 2018 is 20th Sept 2018

GSTR-6
Latest Update!
Due date of GSTR-6 for the months from July 2017 to Aug 2018 is extended to 30th Sept 2018
Other Due Dates
TRAN-02 – 30th June 2018*
* Latest update as on 10th Sept 2018, TRAN-01 and TRAN-02 for taxpayers who faced tech glitches and could not file forms have time till 31st March 2019 and 30th April 2019 to complete filing these forms.

Return Form Particulars Frequency Due Date
GSTR-1
Details of outward supplies of taxable goods and/or services effected Monthly 10th of the next month
GSTR-2
Details of inward supplies of taxable goods and/or services effected claiming input tax credit. Monthly 15th of the next month
GSTR-3
Monthly return on the basis of finalization of details of outward supplies and inward supplies along with the payment of amount of tax. Monthly 20th of the next month
GSTR-3B
Simple return for Jul 2017- Mar 2018 Monthly 20th of the next month
GSTR-4
Return for compounding taxable person Quarterly 18th of the month succeeding quarter
GSTR-5
Return for Non-Resident foreign taxable person Monthly 20th of the next month
GSTR-6
Return for Input Service Distributor Monthly 13th of the next month
GSTR-7
Return for authorities deducting tax at source. Monthly 10th of the next month
GSTR-8
Details of supplies effected through e-commerce operator and the amount of tax collected Monthly 10th of the next month
GSTR-9
Annual Return Annually 31st December of next financial year
GSTR-9A Annual Return Monthly 31st December of next financial year
GSTR-10
Final Return Once. When registration is cancelled or surrendered Within three months of the date of cancellation or date of cancellation order, whichever is later.
GSTR-11
Details of inward supplies to be furnished by a person having UIN and claiming refund Monthly 28th of the month following the month for which statement is filed
* Subject to change by Notifications/ Orders
Late filing
Return filing is mandatory under GST. Even if there is no transaction, you must file a Nil return.
 You cannot file a return if you don’t file previous month/quarter’s return.
 Hence, late filing of GST return will have a cascading effect leading to heavy fines and penalty.
Late fee & Interest
 Interest is 18% per annum. It has to be calculated by the tax payer on the amount of outstanding tax to be paid. Time period will be from the next day of filing to the date of payment.
 As per GST Act Late fee is Rs. 100 per day per Act. So it is 100 under CGST & 100 under SGST. Total will be Rs. 200/day. Maximum is Rs. 5,000. There is no late fee on IGST.
 Late fees for GSTR-3B of July, Aug and Sept waived. Any late fees paid for these months will be credited back to Electronic Cash Ledger under ‘Tax’ and can be utilized to make GST payments.
 As per latest update, late fees for GSTR-5A earlier reduced stands withdrawn. So, the Late fee of Rs 200 per day (or Rs. 100 per day in case of NIL return filing) shall apply with effect from 7th March 2018.
 Late Fee for filing GSTR-1, GSTR-3B, GSTR-4, GSTR-5 & GSTR-6 after the due date has been reduced to Rs. 50 per day of delay.
 Late fee for filing NIL returns have been reduced to Rs. 20 per day of delay for taxpayers (i.e having Nil tax liability for the month) for GSTR-1, GSTR-3B and GSTR-4 & GSTR-5.

30th GST Council Meeting – Highlights & Decisions

Agenda of 30th GST council meeting held on 28th September 2018 revolved around the administration progress made in GST system. Nonetheless, discussions also happened around the necessity to levy cess in case of exigencies. Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley chaired the meeting held via video conferencing.
1. Formation of GoM
A seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) is formed to look into the following verticals and submit a report of recommendations to the GST council by 31st October 2018 on the following issues:
a. Imposition of cess under GST to provide relief to Kerala flood victims – Kerala Government pitched to the GST Council to charge a 10% cess to recover the loss due to floods. The GoM is to take a call on whether or not the proposed cess must come into effect and who must bear the same.
b. A temporary tax under GST to help states in exigencies: GoM is to look into the long-term implications of levying state cess. This cess will be levied on the commodities for a temporary period, subject to notification. However, an additional 1% tax on selected items was discussed in the meeting.
c. Other Issues to be looked by GoM: The committee will look into the issues such as whether the temporary tax should be levied only in the state concerned or should it be an all-India imposition. Also, a class of goods subject to this tax must be proposed and decided.
It will also to look into whether the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)/State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) mechanism is enough to deal with the calamities and the situations where calamity tax can be legally imposed under GST.
2. Discussion on revenue positions of all the states
The GST collections have been beyond the expected target in many north-eastern states. Additionally, a panel of analysts will be conducting a research on all the states pertaining to the GST collection and will recommend ways to bridge the gap between the current revenue and targeted revenue.
The graph of the GST revenue collection showed that states showed 16% shortfall in the first year of its implementation. This shortfall has been reduced to 13% in April – Aug 2018. Finance minister Arun Jaitley stated that the deficit is expected to neutralize itself within 5 years of GST’s roll out.
As per the analysis based on the facts mentioned above, the future rate cuts in the goods and services will depend on the increase in revenue collections in all the states in the coming months.
* Press releases are yet to be notified by the CBIC.
Expectations from 30th GST council meeting:
1. Rationalization of GST rates on cruise tourism
It is expected that the council will discuss on the rationalizing GST rates on cruise tourism or exempting them completely. Currently, 18% is the rate on the supply of cruising services in cruise tourism industry.
2. Simplification and Automation of GSTR-9C
Though the reconciliation statement which is to be filed with the Annual return GSTR -9 has been notified, we can expect the council to discuss on its simplification and further automation of form. This will reduce the cost and time resources for the taxpayers.
3. Compliance for MSMEs
In the 29th GST council meeting, a committee was formed by the council to look after the compliance of MSMEs and prepare a report on it further. It is expected that the council will be discussing the matters reported by the committee for MSMEs.
4. Flood-relief cess for the State of Kerala
Council is expected to take up the discussion on the Kerala government’s demand for levying a cess to collect resources to meet the cost of recovery from the floods occurred few days back.
Though it would not be fair to the affected people to pay more taxes, let us see what the GST council decides upon.
5. GST on ATF (Aviation turbine fuel)
Finance Minister has pitched in to bring ATF under GST ambit. Rising jet fuel prices and lowering air ticket prices have pushed airlines on the brink of crisis. The move to bring ATF under GST will mostly affect those states that have more airports.

Double benefit: Here are 6 tax saving investments with tax-exempt returns

Starting April, 1, the tax saving season is on and both, salaried and non-salaried taxpayers would start comparing tax saving investment options for the financial year 2018-19.

As an investor one should look for investment options that not only helps you save tax but also generate tax-free income.

While choosing the right tax saver, among several other factors such as safety, liquidity and returns, make sure you understand how the returns would be taxed. If the income earned is taxable, the scope to make money over the long run gets constrained as taxes will eat into your returns.

In tax-saving financial products like the National Savings Certificate (NSC), Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme (SCSS), 5-year time deposits with banks and post offices, the interest amount gets added to your income and therefore is liable to be entirely taxed.

So, even though they help you save tax for the current year, the interest income becomes a tax liability each year till the end of the tenure. “One must note that (taxable tax savers) instruments will help in saving the tax to an eligible limit both on investments and on maturity. Since they come with tax benefits, the returns on them are likely to be below the market returns,” said Anil Rego, cheif executive officer and founder of Right Horizons.

The post-tax return in a taxable instrument comes down after factoring in tax. For someone who pays 30 percent tax, the post-tax return on a 5-year bank fixed deposit of 7 per cent is 4.9 per cent per annum, excluding the surcharge!

They can still be tax-exempt income if even after adding the interest income, the individual’s total income remains within the exemption limit as provided by income tax rules. Illustratively, a taxpayer between ages 60-80 earns only interest income from such taxable investments of about Rs 3 lakh a year. Since the income for such individuals is exempted till Rs 3 lakh, even the interest earned from investment in taxable products does not translate into tax liability for them.

But, for most others especially those earning a salary or having income from business or profession, choosing tax savers that come with E-E-E status helps. The investment in these get EEE benefit i.e. exempt- exempt- exempt status on the income earned. The principal invested qualifies for deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the income in all of them is tax exempt under Section 10.

Here are few such tax savers that not only help you save tax but also help you earn tax-free income. But, not all are the same in terms of features and asset-class, so making the right choice is essential.

1.EQUITY-LINKED SAVINGS SCHEMES
* From April 1, 2018 any LTCG made on transfer of equity MFs that have an equity exposure of 65 per cent or more including Equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS) will have to pay a 10 per cent tax on long-term gains. It is important to note that gains made above Rs 1 lakh per annum will only be subject to tax and any gains made below that limit in one FY remains tax-exempt. The LTCG made till January 31, 2018, however, remains grandfathered. i.e., those gains remain tax-exempt.

Equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS) are diversified equity mutual funds with two differentiating features – one, investment amount in them qualifies for tax benefit under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, up to a limit of Rs 1.5 lakh a year and secondly, the amount invested has a lock-in period of 3 years. Every mutual fund (MF) house offers them and generally uses the word tax-saving in its name to distinguish them from their other mutual fund schemes. The returns in ELSS are not fixed and neither assured but is dependent on the performance of equity markets.

One may opt for dividend or growth option in them. While the former suits someone looking for a regular income, although not assured, the latter suits someone looking to save for a long-term need.

However, dividend in an equity MF scheme (including ELSS) should not be construed as similar to the dividend received from an equity share. In the latter, the dividend is declared out of profits generated by a company while in a MF, it is out of the NAV. For a MF unit holder, receiving the dividend is merely equal to the redemption of units.

Further, the dividends in an equity scheme are now ( April 1, 2018 onwards) subject to dividend distribution tax of 10 percent. Hence, for someone investing in ELSS, choosing the growth option over the dividend option will yield tax-effective returns.

To mitigate risks, one may diversify across more than one ELSS scheme (based on market capitalisation and industry exposure) after considering their long-term consistent performance. After the lock-in ends, one may continue with the ELSS investments similar to any open-ended MF scheme. However, review its performance against its benchmark before doing so. Investing in ELSS not only helps you save for a long term goal but also helps you save tax and generate tax-exempt income.

2.PUBLIC PROVIDENT FUND

For decades, Public Provident Fund (PPF) Scheme, 1968 has been a favourite savings avenue for several investors and is still standing tall. After all, the principal and the interest earned have a sovereign guarantee and the returns are tax-free.

PPF currently (subject to change every three months) offers 7.6 percent per annum. For someone paying 30.9 percent tax (highest income slab), it translates to nearly 11.04 percent taxable return. Now, how many taxable investments including bank FD’s are providing such high pre-tax return!

One can open a PPF account in one’s own name or on behalf of a minor of whom he is the guardian. While the minimum annual amount required to keep the account active is Rs 500, the maximum amount that can be deposited in a financial year is Rs 1.5 lakh. This is the combined limit of self and minor account.

PPF is a 15-year scheme, which can be extended indefinitely in a block of 5 years. It can be opened in a designated post office or a bank branch. It can also be opened online with few banks. One is allowed to transfer a PPF account from a post office to a bank or vice versa. A person of any age can open a PPF account. Even those with an EPF account can open a PPF account.

Whom it suits: PPF suits those investors who do not want volatility in returns akin to equity asset class. However, for long-term goals and especially when the inflation-adjusted target amount is high, it is better to take equity exposure, preferably through equity mutual funds, including ELSS tax saving funds and not solely depend on PPF.

3.EMPLOYEES’ PROVIDENT FUND
Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is another avenue that helps a salaried individual not only helps save tax through involuntary savings but also accumulate tax-free corpus. An employee contributes 12 percent of one’s basic salary each month mandatorily towards his EPF account. An equal share is contributed by the employer but only a portion (3.67 percent) goes into EPF.

The employee’s contributions qualify for tax benefit under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, up to a limit of Rs 1.5 lakh a year but not the employer’s share. Both, employee-employer share qualifies for interest as declared by the government each year which is tax-free in nature. The interest rate on EPF is currently at 8.55% for 2017-18 from the previous year’s rate of 8.65% for 2016-17.

One may, however, increase one’s own contribution up to 100 percent of basic and DA, to his VPF account and in doing so it becomes voluntary provident fund (VPF). The VPF is a part of the EPF and all the rules remain the same. The interest earned on the EPF/VPF account is tax-exempt so long as the employee continues in employment for five continuous years or more.

Although one may opt-out from VPF by intimating one’s employer, the money contributed towards VPF, which represents additional savings towards retirement, get locked-in for a longer tenure, and hence use the VPF route judiciously.

4.UNIT LINKED INSURANCE PLAN
Unit linked insurance plan (Ulip) is a hybrid product, a combo of protection and saving. It not only provides life insurance but also helps channel one’s savings into various market-linked assets for meeting long-term goals.

In most Ulips, there are 5 to 9 fund options with varying asset allocation between equity and debt. A Ulip can have a duration of 15 or 20 years or more but the lock-in period is 5 years. The fund value on exiting the policy (allowed after 5 years) or on maturity is tax-free. Any switching between the fund’s options irrespective of the holding period is exempt from tax.

Whom does Ulips suit: Ulips may not be suitable for all investors. Those investors who are comfortable in identifying and managing the ELSS schemes and simultaneously hold a pure term insurance plan, need not buy Ulips. Also, investors looking at investing in Ulips should make sure that the goal for which the Ulip savings is to be used is at least ten years away. For someone to exit Ulip after 5-7 years could be financially damaging.

5.Traditional insurance plans
Traditional insurance plans could be an endowment, money-back or a whole life plan. Unlike pure term insurance plans they have a savings element in them and come with a fixed term and a fixed sum assured. The premiums are based on the age at the time of entry, the life coverage and the period for which coverage is required. Premiums are to be paid each year till maturity. Few such plans have a limited premium payment option in which premiums are to be paid only for a specified term but the policy continues for long. For example, a policy of 25 years may require premiums to be paid only for the first 5 or ten years.

While the premium paid qualifies for tax benefit under section 80C, the maturity value and the death benefit is tax-free.

Where traditional plans fail: Traditional plans are inflexible in nature. The term once chosen can’t be changed. For someone who has started saving for say 20 years might need funds in the 16th or 19th year. Most such plans also do not allow partial withdrawals. Even sum assured can’t be changed. The traditional insurance plans including endowment, money back or of any design have a potential for lower returns and is largely in the range of 4-7 percent per annum.

6. SUKANYA SAMRIDDHI YOJANA
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) is a small deposit scheme for the girl child launched as a part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign. It is currently fetching an interest rate of 8.1 percent and provides income-tax benefit.

A Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened any time after the birth of a girl till she turns 10, with a minimum deposit of Rs 1,000. A maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh can be deposited during the ongoing financial year. The account will remain operative for 21 years from the date of its opening or until the marriage of the girl after she turns 18.

Currently, SSY offers the highest tax-free return with a sovereign guarantee and comes with the exempt-exempt-exempt (EEE) status. The annual deposit (contributions) qualifies for Section 80C benefit and the maturity benefits are non-taxable.

Luxury Customer Journey

Luxury Customer Journey

Luxury is neither a product or service it’s an attitude and state of mind.

What the term Luxury Customer Journey means?

In precise, it means the strategic road map to delight and engage the customer with the brand. The LCJ provides a clear understanding of the strategic road map luxury brands need to develop to engage their target in each market analysed, with a strong focus on their digital as well as offline transformation.

The Luxury Customer Journey (LCJ) provides an initial snapshot of the most important marketing KPI’s (top of mind, spontaneous and total awareness) before delving deeper into the more relevant content and touch points that build brand awareness and intention to buy, from traditional press and celebrity endorsement to digital word of mouth and bloggers. The study explores customer behavior and their expectations during their e-commerce and boutique experiences, in-store mobile usage, interaction with brands’ social media pages, as well as the meaningfulness of specific content provided by the brands. It also tests consumer appreciation of the newest experience innovations.

The study confirms, people aspire to luxury fashion brands because they provide the thrill associated with the sense of belonging to a selected tribe while providing the unique opportunity to show off personal connoisseur-ship. However, in the more mature markets during the recent economic slowdown, customers have become increasingly price and quality conscious. They are willing to pay more if they are provided with better, customized, meaningful experiences and services while they approach, select and purchase a luxury product. Even customers in emerging markets are increasingly gaining ground, moving quickly up the Luxury Pyramid, from affordable and accessible logged products to niche and exclusive goods.

In this evolving landscape, The Luxury Customer Journey aims to unveil and highlight the most significant differences in the behavior and expectations of the modern luxury consumer.

The path to purchase is almost never linear, involving interaction with different content and communication assets from owned (i.e. official websites), to paid (i.e. print advertising) and/or earned equity (i.e. word of mouth). Brand storytelling is extremely important for consumers while Millennial’s pose a harder challenge for mature markets where brand heritage and roots have yet to become relevant for them. All Global luxury consumers are interested in content that provides them with practical and personal advice on new trends and seasonal must-have products related to their age, profile, and taste. Customized services and special treatment are also expected as well as exclusive offers following a subscription to a brand web site and/or loyalty program. Brands should shift their focus to their customers and on how to engage them. They need to know their data; they need to understand their customer; they need to be global yet increasingly local and personalized in their approach; they need to become much more digital but at the same time experiential.

Now do you think is it easy enough to provide a luxury customer experience?

Well, it requires work and attention to detail.

How can you go about offering a luxury customer experience?

First of all, bear in mind that, selling luxury products means selling a dream, which is certainly something that goes beyond mere functionality, rather it emphasizes status and other symbolic associations such as personal statement, identity, and ultimately creates a sense of belonging. So, how can luxury fashion brands deliver a “white-glove” customer experience and capitalize on the opportunities offered by online and offline channels without risking depreciating their brand equity and losing sales that are mainly happening in stores? The answer is designing a customer experience that is well integrated among all channels. In a market servicing ever-more discerning consumers, the luxury sector needs to constantly innovate in order to stay relevant. customers buy luxury goods because they’re attracted to the brand’s image, so those aspects have to come to life.

Customer experience @ store

Brandships are living marketing experiences – less about the financial transaction and more about the emotional transaction. Stores must engage customers and create desire. The purchase can happen at a later date, but the important thing is to create that interest and affinity. Luxury brands have excelled at creating special experiences for customers in-store to differentiate themselves from the ‘average’ retailer. This includes factors such as beautiful store design, great personal service and advice from store staff, and maybe a glass of wine on arrival. This quality of service, added to the quality of the products, provides potential customers with the best possible store experience.

3 keys to Luxury Customer Journey

Know Your Audience

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is a practice ignored by brands all too often. Not all luxury buyers are driven by the same motives or respond the same way to marketing tactics, and failure to tailor your efforts to your specific audience’s needs could be costly.

Tell a Story

Today’s luxury buyers also favor substance over style, meaning they are more likely to connect with a brand that has the marketing savvy to tell a story and align with their personal values rather with a brand that relies on its product’s flashiness. Your customers are educated, so treat them that way by ramping up your content and avoiding gimmicks and commodity marketing language.

Convenience is Key

Now that you have hooked your customer with your brand experience and story, give them the ability to interact with your brand in a way that is most convenient for their demanding lifestyle. Providing ample options to suit their unique needs during every stage of the buying cycle allows them to shop and make decisions in a manner of their choosing. Accomplish this by pushing the creative envelope and utilizing technology in a way that both accommodates your buyers’ unique needs and provides that Wow Factor.

Challenges facing for Luxury Brands

Not able to recreate customer store experience into online

However, luxury brands have faced challenges when attempting to recreate the in-store customer experience online, or to at least create an online experience which matches the brand image, and they have not always succeeded. Recreating the in-store luxury experience online may well be impossible to do. Retailers can show their products in the best possible light and create websites which are a pleasure to browse and buy from. After this point, it’s about providing the kind of service, including delivery and packaging, that customers would expect from a luxury retailer.

Product returns

Customers are likely to expect a higher standard of service if they have any problems post-purchase. Returns should be hassle-free.

Delivery and packaging

Customer expectations around delivery are higher than ever before. The delivery of the product should be designed in such a way to create an amazing experience to the customer. Packaging is a great way to deliver that ‘wow factor’ for customers. To an extent, the packaging needs to reinforce the promise of the brand. If people order an expensive handbag, standard brown packaging won’t do.

Great Copy writing

Product copy needs to work to convey the quality and luxury of the product. The tone of voice needs to match the product and price. For example, Rolex talks about the materials, the history and detail which goes into creating its watches.

Product imagery

Images can be used to show products in the best possible light and should be high quality.

Product Exclusivity

Luxury brands seek exclusivity; they should not try to be everything to everyone. Product customization should be a part of luxury brands.

Latest Technology

Always updated with the latest technologies. Luxury brands have taken note of this shift well in time and are using technology in their favor to interact with today’s consumers at the same wavelength. Here are how luxury brands across the globe are playing the technology game right and things that brands across industries can learn from them
Teach, don’t train

Your sales associates are people who you have chosen because you feel they already have the intelligence and sophistication to appeal to your elite clientele. Don’t simply provide them with a list of facts to memorize and procedures to follow. Educate them about your brand, its history, and the science and psychology of good customer relationships. Teach them to be active creators of your brand’s world, and encourage them to invite the customer into that world rather than fixating on making a sale.
Empower

To be successful globally, a brand has to make the best possible use of the local knowledge its sales associates bring to each store. Hire people you trust and then trust them; let them work together with your expert management to find the best way to express your brand in their specific context. A confident, assured sales associate inspires the trust and respect of customers, which in turn translates into trust in and respect for your brand.
Encourage personal relationships

The key to building consumer loyalty is post-purchase communication between the brand and the customer, but many customers feel uncomfortable giving their contact information away to a faceless corporation, even one they admire. However, a sales associate can assure them that the offers and promotions they receive will be curated by an actual person, who knows their interests and will listen attentively to their feedback. A sales associate has the power to tailor your brand’s image to the customer’s exact measurements in a way nothing and no one else can.
Create a culture of improvement

There is no “end” to customer service, no point at which you can say there is nothing left to improve. Indeed, the best customer service is provided by those companies that never give up looking for the better way no matter how successful their previous methods have been. While quantitative metrics are important for monitoring performance, pressuring sales associates with negative feedback – especially in the form of scores – is embarrassing and dis empowering. A sales associate cannot be a great representative of a brand with whom he or she has a hostile or anxious relationship. Rather, create a culture of constant progress, where sales associates know that identifying areas for improvement will be a regular part of everyone’s work. Make evaluations into a tool you give your sales associates to help them grow.
Create an Effortless Experience
The key to customer loyalty is an effortless customer service experience and Don’t exceed their expectations too. An effortless experience is the key to customer loyalty.

Always believe

We don’t pay for the product; we pay for the experience, the exclusivity and the aspiration associated with it
What Green Wind Solutions Can Offer?

If you are looking for a strategy or marketing plans for your business or brand – we can help you. If you need a specialized marketing consultant, strategy consultant, brand consultant or business consultant -this is the place. We offer full support in creating long-term strategies, marketing plans, brand management and other services designed for luxury and premium brands. We support small businesses as well as well-known global brands.

Number of crorepatis up by 60% in India

The number of taxpayers earning above Rs 1 crore per annum has risen to over 1.40 lakh in the country in the last four years, depicting a growth of about 60 per cent, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said Monday (22.10.2018).

Releasing key statistics of income tax and direct taxes for a period of about four years, the policy-making body of the IT department said the number of individual taxpayers earning over Rs 1 crore annually had seen a growth of about 68 per cent.

“The total number of taxpayers (corporate , firms, Hindu undivided families among others) showing income of above Rs 1 crore has registered a sharp increase.

“While 88,649 taxpayers had disclosed income above Rs 1 crore in assessment year 2014-15, the figure was 1,40,139 for AY 2017-18, which is a growth of about 60 per cent,” the CBDT said.

Similarly, it said, the number of individual taxpayers disclosing income above Rs 1 crore had increased during the same period from 48,416 to 81,344, which translated into a growth of 68 per cent.

CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra said these numbers were a result of putting in a number of legislative, informative and enforcement efforts by the tax department over the last four years.

The data also added that a growth of more than 80 per cent was registered in the number of returns filed in the last four financial years – from 3.79 crore in 2013-14 to 6.85 crore in 2017-18.

Make Stupid Objects Smart

“A wise man learns by the mistakes of others, a fool by his own.”

How to make stupid objects smart?

We didn’t think this one up. The race is on to make everything smart and the dumber your products were to begin with, the greater the opportunity to make them smart.

While making stupid objects smart always bear in mind the footprints below.

Take every product you sell and make it smart – accept the fact that you must more competitive on price and accept low margins with delighting services.

Making mistakes easily correctable and non-serious – when people do make mistakes, the error should be obvious and correctable before something bad happens. A ladder level is a good example. Mistakes made in life are our lessons in disguise. And sometimes, the best lessons learned, came from the worst mistakes made.

Divinity in everything – find divine nature in everything.

Creating good habits through high expectations.

Constant efforts to correct all unsafe conditions.

Explore the power of positive thinking.

Excellence through responsibility.

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