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Aussie consumers demand honesty and transparency before trusting businesses with purchases

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Aussie consumers demand honesty and transparency before trusting businesses with purchases

TRUSTPILOT

Melbourne, Australia: July 27, 2022 – New research by global review platform Trustpilot reveals half of Australian consumers say they now consider a business’ stance on ethical issues (social, political and environmental) before they go to checkout, with 95% of respondents saying a business’ honesty and transparency is a deciding factor in their purchasing decisions.

The latest study, commissioned for Trustpilot’s Brands that take a stand report, interviewed 600 marketers across the UK, US, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden to compare and contrast findings against Trustpilot’s Brand integrity: the new frontier for marketing study, which surveyed 7,000 consumers from the same eight territories about their attitudes to taking an ethical stance and being honest in brand marketing campaigns from September 2021.

Cameron Buckley, Regional Director – APAC at Trustpilot, states “Australian businesses have a great opportunity to start promoting and talking about their ethical stance, which not only meets consumer expectations but it also fulfils a wider strategic marketing stance. While we are seeing some great local examples of Australian brands adopting this approach, there is still a gap in what consumers expect from brands. The brands that are willing to invest in explaining what they do, or don’t stand for, will be the ones that will stand out and ultimately win over consumers” he said.

While taking a stance and supporting ethical issues has perceived commercial value, ensuring businesses are honest and transparent about a position on issues is what adds value to consumers. Brands which vocalise support for social, environmental and political issues must do so authentically in order to resonate with savvy consumers, otherwise – as social media and reviews play an increasingly influential role in spending decisions – they risk turning customers away.

When asked how respondents verify a business’ ethics and values, social media (46%), friends and family (45%), and reviews websites (43%) were the joint top three sources consumers said they go to – demonstrating the growing influence consumers have on other consumers’ spending habits, in comparison to more traditional sources such as TV and radio.

In response to this, three quarters of Australian marketers agree that demonstrating support for ethical issues is important – with 73% saying that doing so can win new customers – with lack of internal support and buy-in halting progress, the research suggests marketers may be failing to move the dial and effectively communicate that importance to business stakeholders. Worse yet, 39% of Australian marketers surveyed believe that not demonstrating a stance on ethical issues can be detrimental to a business by leading to poor reviews and ratings, with 36% admitting that failing to do so can reduce sales – suggesting that pressure for marketers to win over stakeholders is mounting.

Yet whilst marketers agree on the value for a business in taking a stance on ethical issues, the research did warn brands to ensure they practise what they preach – as a survey of consumers found that unfair treatment of staff and suppliers, greenwashing and poor customer service top buying turn offs.

Trustpilot works to connect businesses with consumers by gathering open, honest feedback, which helps consumers shop with confidence and businesses improve their service. The report comes as part of the company’s aim of becoming a universal symbol of trust.

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Australian Energy Commission Signals Major Overhaul of Complex Electricity Pricing Amid Consumer Concerns

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Australian Energy Commission Signals Major Overhaul of Complex Electricity Pricing Amid Consumer Concerns

 

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has announced plans to overhaul electricity pricing rules in response to growing concerns about complex and often punitive tariffs affecting many households.

Key Points:

  • Revamp Announcement: Anna Collyer, Chair of the AEMC, will address these issues in her keynote speech at the Australian Energy Week conference in Melbourne, highlighting the need for new consumer protections amid the rollout of smart meters and changing tariff structures.
  • Consumer Protections: The AEMC will introduce measures to protect consumers from unexpected tariff changes. This includes requiring greater notification and detailed information from retailers about how changes will impact users.

Background:

The AEMC, which sets the rules for retailers in the national electricity market covering about 10 million customers along the eastern seaboard, is addressing concerns about the rapid and radical changes to electricity pricing. Traditionally, households paid a flat rate for electricity, but the introduction of smart meters has enabled more complex tariffs such as time-of-use rates and demand charges. These changes, however, have left many consumers facing higher bills without understanding why.

Collyer’s Perspective:

Ms. Collyer emphasised the critical role of smart meters in transitioning Australia to renewable energy. She noted that these devices allow consumers to better manage their energy use, particularly in homes with rooftop solar systems. However, she acknowledged that not all consumers are willing or able to adjust their energy consumption habits significantly.

“We need to account for all types of consumers, not just those who thrive on more complexity,” Ms. Collyer will say. She also highlighted the importance of smart meters in the broader context of reducing peak demand and infrastructure costs.

Proposed Changes:

  • Greater Transparency and Notification: New rules will ensure that consumers are adequately informed about tariff changes, including more detailed explanations and the elimination of up-front costs for smart meter installations.
  • Review of Tariff Appropriateness: The AEMC will launch a review to assess whether current power charges are fair and effective in reducing peak demand and overall costs.
  • Innovative Approaches: Collyer urged energy companies to innovate with the advent of smart technology, such as electric vehicles and internet-enabled appliances, which can adjust their energy use based on real-time pricing.

Industry Impact:

Collyer’s speech will also include a challenge to power companies to be more like “Uber, not the taxi; Apple, not Kodak,” encouraging them to embrace innovation rather than sticking to outdated practices.

Conclusion:

The AEMC’s proposed overhaul of electricity pricing rules aims to balance the transition to a greener grid with the need for consumer protections and transparency. By addressing the complexities and unexpected costs associated with new tariff structures, the commission hopes to ensure that all consumers benefit from the move towards smarter energy management.

 

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Apple Reaches Record High with New AI Features: ‘AI for the Rest of Us’

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Apple Reaches Record High with New AI Features: ‘AI for the Rest of Us’

 

Apple Inc. shares soared to a record high after unveiling its much-anticipated artificial intelligence (AI) platform, Apple Intelligence, during the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. The new technology, designed to offer a personalised and subtle AI experience, aims to enhance user engagement by summarising text, creating original images, and retrieving relevant data.

Key Highlights from the Presentation:

  • Apple Intelligence: The centrepiece of the event, this new AI platform will integrate seamlessly with Apple’s ecosystem, providing users with advanced features such as text summarisation, original image creation, and intelligent data retrieval. A revamped version of Siri will also be included, promising more precise control within apps and better overall functionality.
  • Stock Performance: Apple’s stock surged 7.3% to $207.15, achieving its first record high of the year despite a lukewarm premarket reaction.
  • AI Market Push: Apple is positioning itself to catch up with tech giants like Google and Microsoft in the competitive AI market, leveraging its streamlined interface and dedicated customer base.

Partnership with OpenAI:

Apple formally announced a partnership with OpenAI, allowing users to access ChatGPT via Siri at no extra cost. This collaboration aims to enhance Siri’s capabilities, with additional features available for OpenAI’s paid subscribers. The AI platform will start rolling out later this year, with some features, including multi-language support, expected next year.

New Operating System Features:

  • iOS 18 and iPadOS Enhancements: The latest updates will introduce an upgraded home screen, a new Control Centre, satellite text messaging support, and enriched communication features in the Messages app. Other notable additions include a Passwords app for secure logins and a redesigned Photos app with AI-enhanced editing.
  • MacOS Sequoia: This update will bring the same Apple Intelligence features to Macs, along with new capabilities like interacting with iPhone notifications and organizing application windows as tiles.
  • VisionOS 2: The Vision Pro headset’s new software will include 3D spatial photos, advanced hand gestures, and the ability to AirPlay content from other Apple devices.

Additional Announcements:

  • International Launch of Vision Pro: Preorders for the Vision Pro will begin in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore on June 13, with sales starting June 28. The rollout will extend to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK shortly after.
  • AirPods and Apple Watch Updates: New software for AirPods will enhance call clarity by reducing background noise, while the Apple Watch will feature improved health tracking capabilities.

Apple CEO Tim Cook emphasised the transformative potential of AI for the company, stating, “AI will be the next big step for Apple.” Despite recent revenue declines, Apple aims to bolster user loyalty and encourage more frequent upgrades with these new AI-driven features.

 

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How Australian Women Entrepreneurs are Defying the Odds to Build Successful Businesses

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How Australian Women Entrepreneurs are Defying the Odds to Build Successful Businesses

 

One-third of Australian businesses are led by women, and this number is steadily increasing. Women entrepreneurs in Australia are not only more educated than their male counterparts but are also pioneering innovations in social impact and environmental sustainability. However, significant barriers persist, including gaps in opportunities, networks, resources, and investment.

Key Findings from the Women’s Agenda Report

A new report from Women’s Agenda, in partnership with Commonwealth Bank and CommBank Women in Focus, sheds light on the challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Australia. The report, which surveyed over 1,000 women business owners and startup founders in April 2024, highlights the following:

  1. Optimism and Determination: Despite the challenges, 75% of respondents are focused on expansion, and over half plan to hire new talent within the next year.
  2. Social Impact: A significant 56% of women-led businesses are dedicated to making a positive impact in areas such as care, health, social justice, and combating family violence.
  3. Economic Challenges: Inflation and the cost of living are major hurdles, with 74% citing these as primary challenges to growth. Additionally, over a third of respondents feel that current government policies negatively impact their businesses.
  4. Talent Shortages: More than one in five women entrepreneurs are struggling with finding and retaining talent.
  5. Gender-Based Barriers: Bias from prospective investors and unpaid care obligations are additional burdens for women founders.

Expert Insights and Strategies

Julie Mathers, CEO of Snuggle Hunny, sees current economic challenges as opportunities for entrepreneurs to become more focused on their businesses. She believes that surviving the current “storm” will make businesses stronger and more resilient.

Dr. Elaine Stead, a venture capitalist with Main Sequence, emphasizes the importance of networks. She advises women entrepreneurs to leverage their networks for support and survival during tough economic times. She underscores that the first priority for small business owners should be to survive the immediate challenges before focusing on growth.

Opportunities and Support Networks

The report highlights that access to networks is the top driver of success for female founders. Over 80% of respondents identified their biggest support as a network that includes other women entrepreneurs, stakeholders invested in their success, and supportive personal connections. This finding underscores the importance of relationship-building in business.

Conclusion

Despite facing numerous challenges, Australian women entrepreneurs are demonstrating resilience and optimism. Their commitment to innovation and social impact, combined with their determination to overcome barriers, is driving their businesses forward. The findings from the Women’s Agenda report reveal that with the right support, networks, and resources, women-led businesses can thrive even in challenging economic climates.

 

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