Why your business needs an inventory management software?

Why your business needs an inventory management software?

A shocking amount of capital is tied up in inventory. Inventory along with accounts receivable and accounts payable has tied up $1.1 trillion in cash – equivalent to 7% of the U.S. GDP. (Source: REL)

In fact, U.S. retailers are currently sitting on about $1.43 in inventory for every $1 of sales they make.

Imagine the effect it will have on your small and medium sized business if you are managing your inventory manually or not managing at all.

As an online retailer, you do not want to tie up additional capital inventory carrying liability. Especially if you are still an old school managing it on a spreadsheet.

And no Kidding,

Your challenges for managing Inventory manually will cost you a fortune. For instance

  • It may happen at times that you run short of resources to lease your facilities, and hence you may end up operating a rather larger and ineffective warehouse then you need.
  • Under such circumstances, Inventory Management spreadsheet is often prone to errors and will drain you to the last drop of your time and energy in maintaining the same.  
  • You will never be assured of accuracy, and it’s not worth a risk.

Poor management is one of the top-notch reason why small business fail. Though Inventory Management Software is a crucial tool for retailers, 46% of SMB’s with 11-500 employees still don’t currently track inventory or use a manual inventory process.

It is vital to keep track of Inventory Management, as it directly affects the cost and time of your business. Hence, automating Inventory Management is crucial for business.  Automation facilitates your business in terms of ROIs, Diversification and most importantly in.. ( Click to read)

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Know this before selling food online in India

Know this before selling food online in India

India has emerged as one of the most promising market for online businesses. With steadily increasing internet penetration, Indians are buying a lot more than just electronics and books online.

In this progression, Food happens to be one of the major subdomains in this emerging e commerce market in India. Sellers are naturally attracted to selling goods that comes with frequent and recurring demand patterns.

According to retail consultancy Technopak, the online grocery retail market is growing at 25 to 30 percent in the metros and other large cities in the country. This is quite promising for aspiring sellers who want to expand their online footprints in this market and maximise their profits.

Grofers.com, Peppertap.com and bigbasket.com are the ones that are currently leading the online food selling marketplace in India.

If you also want to dive into this market, there are a few prerequisites to fulfill-

Registration with FSSAI-

A license from FSSAI or Food Safety & Standards authority of India is mandatory to sell your goods online. Merchants with FSSAI approval can only sell edible items online or offline.

VAT Registration-

Ensure you check eligibility for your product and obtain a VAT registration number from the local sales tax authorities.

CST –

CST will be levied when goods are moving from one state in India to another.

Important Parameters to consider when fulfilling online food orders-

1- Consider at what temperature the product needs to be kept throughout the fulfillment transit.

2- Invest in proper boxes, jars, dry ice, to ensure products are been delivered fresh.

3- Choose experienced fulfillment service to avoid late delivery, especially in the case of gifts.

Stock keeping and storage of food items calls for high-standard inventory management and well equipped physical distribution.  That is why it is essential to have an efficient inventory management software coupled with a capable logistic partner.

While physical infrastructure in still deficient in India with reference to Food storage and distribution, nonetheless, things are changing fast. Online sellers looking for greener pastures, can certainly rely on Food to be the next driver of growth.

Read the entire post in detail, and tips to come up with a great online store for your food business. 

Why did Amazon start with selling Books

web2-0

In 1995 when Amazon flung upon itself to virtual world, Amazon took off at a light speed with no turning back ever. Enchanted by mammoth selection of books, a friendly UI, internet broke with mailing lists and conflagration spread across the seattle.

With almost 20 potential products list in hand that comprised of software, CD’s, electronics, Bezos chose books over everything and that kinda hit the last nail in coffin.

Why on the earth Books?

Well as much as Bezos loved reading, he didn’t start out of his love for reading. It was a well thought and extremely well crafted idea that was going to change the online purchase dynamics forever.

It was the blend of both Bezos intellect and his timeline of business that he started with books with a vision much bigger and brighter.

Admit it, Books are one hell of an easy product to ship, a tough to break and requires no instant initial hefty investment. They have very minimum possibility of returns , and so less risk of shipping and returns. Unlike apparel Customers satisfaction lies in quality of books, just the quality and not the cognitive aspect.

Also, let’s not forget, publishing houses were already facing major crisis when Amazon went up. So, selling books at dirt cheap was one hell of a way to access customer’s name and data that would later change the way we consume stuff online. Books earned Bezos loyal and returning customers. Once he had them, he knew it won’t be of a task to sell into CDs and DVDS.

With enormous selections of books, the customer service reached a new heights and it became more of community than just a platform to sell/ buy books. Amazon engaged its customer with reviews, ratings and what not.

Publishers were forced to offer quality of work and though amazon literally sold books for loss, it didn’t matter as it made people read and talk. Hence customer hooked onto it. After establishing brand loyalty and trust, Amazon moved to other segments as well and the rest is history

Sales: $610 Billion; Profits: $0

One of the most astounding things about Amazon.com is that the sales growing at a rate of 3,000 percent annually and it is the country’s third-largest bookseller, the company has yet to make a dime.

But like Bezzo says “There are always three or four brands that matter,” and “With the lead we have today, we should be the No. 1 player.”

Why are Amazon FBA sellers a tough competition?

With ever evolving buzzword in this industry, the one that has been top notched for over a year now is “FBA”, Fulfilment by Amazon. The industry has discussed and debated a lot on its affiliate marketing but has shied away from expressing opinions on FBA.

So what is all ruckus about? What’s the deal with FBA business model that has caused hullabaloo?

Well, for one thing, it holds the future for entrepreneurs. If I look back at the time, I don’t recall a single massive, reliable e-commerce platforms where you can sell and get a fair share.

No wonder FBA sellers have been more successful than others and are as true to competition as the platform.

Scalability

FBA businesses are very scalable compared to other enterprise. The main reason being you need not have a large team to function and can be on your own even as you grow. All you need to do is create and obtain inventory to sell and that’s all for your primary expense.

Moreover, there is no as such limitations on how your product category sale. As an FBA seller, you can sell anytime whatever suits you best and can grow faster. You can also hire staff to look over when it becomes unmanageable.

Takeaway: You need not shell out more, and keep it low cost while you expand the search for other products and profit opportunities. As an entrepreneur, you can stay focused on priority, yet explore.

FBA sellers get a competitive advantage:

Amazon offers a competitive advantage to its sellers. Most FBA sellers are the one’s who knows how to establish a relationship or bond over with the customers. Not every seller is great at marketing, but the one’s who are, FBA is a blessing to them.

For instance, if you are an FBA seller selling some kitchen product, you can ‘Affiliate’ with a food blogger or a well-known chef.

The biggest sellers on Amazon often have some kind of competitive advantage which is difficult for others to replicate. They might have a better marketing plan than everyone else, but the chances are that includes working on building relationships that others don’t have.

For example, if you sell kitchen products, what might happen if you develop a good relationship with a well-known food blogger or even a celebrity chef?

Takeaway: Most FBA sellers are focused on investment that scales the business. Hence, by being FBA sellers they end up saving high on all of the fulfillment logistics.

Creating Private Labels

My personal favorite word in business is ‘niche’. Finding a niche in product enhances your business sense and helps your business to grow. However for an online store, finding a niche that too a profitable one and generating a private label product to sell, is becoming quite a trend.

I would like to credit Amazon for that. FBA sellers are utilizing it to the fullest with Buy Box win being the center of it. Sellers selling on omnichannel faces difficulty in competing for Buy Box with other sellers selling the same item.

With the rise of another giant “Alibaba” that served as a one-stop solution to connect with manufacturers globally, it only made more feasible to source and brand a private label and avoid the competition for the Buy Box.

Takeaway: Amazon FBA s Private Label is somewhat like this

  • Find a niche product to sell on Amazon. A product that could be customized in some way to make it stand out from the crowd.
  • Find manufacturers who make the product using Alibaba.com.
  • Contact manufacturers to negotiate costs, minimum orders and customizations.
  • Decide on a manufacturer.
  • Receive samples of your customized item until you are happy with it.
  • Get manufacturer to add your own brand label to the product.
  • Get manufacturer to ship inventory directly to Amazon.
  • Cross fingers for orders!

Final Thoughts

FBA services are regarded best for their on-time fast delivery and precision. It also gives an added advantage to seller on Amazon marketplace by enhancing their visibility in the Buy Box, thereby making them eligible for the most popular Prime free shipping programme

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising then, that 79% of all sellers surveyed use FBA for some or all of their products sold on Amazon. 44% use FBA for 90% or more of their sales, and 27% use FBA for everything they sell.

$1M+ sellers are less reliant on FBA: a third use it on 90% or more of their sales, but only 10% use it for everything they sell.
At least now we know what makes FBA sellers a tough competitor.

High-time to get your Etsy store Holiday-ready

We’re already in October end! This year has almost come to an end! However, the end-of-year means a lot for sellers due to the upcoming Holiday Season which is around the corner.

With a number of people wanting to send gifts to their loved ones, decor products like Christmas tree, handmade Jewelry, holiday theme backdrops and floral products can be the top selling gifts during the season. So, why not create a store and sell your own craft on Etsy to add on to the overall revenue for your eCommerce business?

For those who are already selling their creative products on Etsy will have an idea about the potential of selling on the popular giant marketplace that is focused on selling handmade or vintage items and supplies, as well as, unique-manufactured items.

Ideas of best-selling backdrops categories on Etsy for Holiday Season

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To access the full list of popular Etsy holiday backdrops, please click here.

How Etsy is helping sellers during Holiday Season?

Within two years of its launch back in 2005, Etsy was one of the main members of Handmade Consortium– an effort to encourage the purchase of handmade products during Holiday Season.

This effort has surely brought Etsy a long way and disclosed revenue of 195.6 million US dollars in 2014.

In contrast to 2010, Etsy generated a transaction worth 1.93 billion on its platform, which has 54 million members as on March 3, 2015. Etsy went public on April 16th, 2015 at a company valuation of $1.8 billion and raised $237 million in IPO proceeds.

Considering the facts and figures, I don’t see any reason for artisans to stop themselves from selling their talent over the popular eCommerce handmade marketplace Etsy.

Essential pillars to influence shoppers towards your Etsy store

Whether you are already selling handmade products via your own online store or, think of expanding your reach by creating an Etsy store, below are four factors that can help you perform smoothly when selling your creativity online.

I- Marketing

Promotion has always been the backbone of any selling business, therefore, no matter how unique are your handmade products spreading awareness will boost popularity, as well as, sales opportunities for Etsy store.

What you can do?

The way you allows access of your creative products to shoppers will determine the success of your Etsy store. Being loud about how your products will prove to be great gifts for their loved one can help you attract more and more holiday shoppers to your Etsy store.

Tips that can help you perform effective marketing strategies for your Etsy store

1- Use Etsy promotional tools

This marketplace allows sellers an opportunity to stay up in “Etsy search results” by using its Promoted Listing Campaign tool. Offering an ability to make your products visible in buyer’s search terms, this giant marketplace even helps you target correct audience by showing up your products within your shipping locations and price range shoppers are looking for.

You can access the Promoted Listings section from the advertising dashboard. To know more about Promoted Listings on Etsy, please click here.

2- Gain a competitive advantage by offering coupon codes

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This can be an ideal option to encourage holiday shoppers to make repeat purchases, as well as spread good word-of-mouth for your Etsy store. Etsy does not show-up your coupon code automatically; hence you can target your discounts to a specific audience, all in an effort to encourage them to revisit your Etsy shop throughout the holiday season.

Whether you wish to thank your first-time shoppers, highlighting them in shop announcements, using them in your checkout page to boost order value of their holiday purchases, Etsy coupon code can be used as an effective sales booster to encourage Holiday shoppers towards your Etsy store.

3- Adopt social media

Social media is considered to be the key for effective promotion, and being into a creative selling business getting your products visible on the walls of popular social media sites can help target multiple potential holiday shoppers in-one-go.

What can be those effective social media platforms for promoting your Etsy store?

A- Facebook: Adding your Etsy store to your Facebook business account can help you connect with potential shoppers who are interested in purchasing and gifting handmade products during Holiday season. Inviting potential audience to like your page can help you increase visibility among their friends of friends who would like to stay updated with the news feed and products offered by your Etsy store.

B- Instagram: This online mobile sharing app targets audience who like to follow brands that allow them to connect with favorite products via images and short video-clips. Offering a space to add a caption, you can tag your products as #holiday gifts to improve visibility among shoppers who are specifically looking for products that can be purchased and gifted during Holiday season

C- Pinterest: Another effective web and mobile photo-sharing social media platform, Pinterest can surely be an ideal platform for Etsy sellers. Promoting your handmade products using Pinterest Board can help you increase the number of repins and invite potential shoppers for making purchases from your Etsy store throughout the auspicious season.

II- Listing

The way you present your handmade products will influence Holiday shopper’s purchase decision. Therefore, focusing on your product listing is another essential factor to encourage Holiday shoppers to engage further with your Etsy store.

What you can do?

If you are already running an Etsy store, it is beneficial to tweak your existing listing as per seasonal theme to attract the attention of Holiday shoppers. Shoppers would like to engage with a brand that offers a value to make their Holiday purchases, therefore it becomes important to work on your listings well-in-advance.

Important factors to consider in your Etsy store’s holiday listings

A- Product Title: The way you address your handmade products will help you increase visibility in holiday shopper’s search results. Understanding the need for your products on behalf of shoppers and coming up with a title to exact fit their Holiday search terms will help search engines better understand your listings and keep them up in SEO rankings and Etsy search results too.

B- Product Description: The number of shopper’s questions answered in your product description will determine the conversion rates of your handmade products. Jumping into the customer’s shoes and highlighting benefits of your products in your descriptions can influence them for selecting your Etsy store to make their Holiday purchases.

C- Product Tags: Last, you would like to cover all important keywords affiliated with your products in your listings. For example, covering words related to color, size, and style can improve chances of fitting Holiday shopper’s tag when looking up for products they intend to purchase/gift.

To know more about listing products on Etsy, please click here.

III- Shipping

Happy with your handmade products, Holiday shoppers would expect to ensure a quick and timely delivery, especially when accepting gifts during major Holidays. Therefore, preparing yourself for your shipping process before those busiest selling days of the year, can help you create trust among potential shoppers.

What you can do?

If you sell awesome but can’t ship your sales orders in time will make no sense for holiday shoppers who wish to get their products delivered during the upcoming holidays 2016.

How Etsy is helping sellers in shipping?

For all US and Canadian sellers on Etsy will automatically get access to onsite postage tool.

Using Etsy shipping labels, you can save time and ensure every shopper’s orders are shipped in time.

Easily purchase and print shipping labels from popular shipping company USPS or Canada post directly from your Etsy shop. Apart from that, easily set up bulk shipments for products that are at the same time or cost the same to ship.

Additionally, get a chance to enhance shopper’s experience during Holidays by allowing them to track their shipment in real-time until delivered.

To know more about Etsy shipping, please click here.

IV- Customer Service

Lastly, you would not like Holiday shoppers to be stuck with a question in mind. Therefore, allowing shoppers an ability to connect with your brand in the case of confusion can stop them from leaving your Etsy store and retain them for future purchase by solving their problems on-the-go, or at the earliest.

What you can do?

From honoring your shipping processing time to instantly addressing concerns, ensuring a great customer experience will help you retain shoppers even after Holiday Season 2016.

Etsy also provides “Seller Protection for Etsy store owners” in case of disputes, unauthorized payment and frauds. To understand further about Etsy’s Seller Protection qualification, please click here.

Wrapping up

Most of the sellers on Etsy may have their own manufacturing unit, however, to encourage more and more people make money out of their creativity Etsy has opened doors for manufacturers to provide means of production to sellers as per their production requirements, products, material, and preferred location too.

Good Luck!

Source:

www.etsy.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etsy

Dropshipping cons every retailer should be aware of

Dropshipping is at the notch these days, thanks to the proliferation of the internet and the accessibility of online stores.

Many retailers/ online sellers tout dropshipping for its ease and the benefits it carries- In a small drop of Investment, retailers can gain a huge amount of profit. Even, the pains to load inventory and dispatching merchandise at the customer’s doorstep is upon dropshippers.

Why not, this business model considered to be the best option?

It’s a lucrative work-from-home business which retailers can access anytime, from anywhere. The only things required to operate their business is the power of the internet and a laptop.

cons of Dropshipping

Still, many retailers avoid to opt dropshipping because of the drawbacks.

  • Fraudulent Dropshippers

It’s a challenging task to find a reliable dropshipper for the retail business who can act as a partner to offer the best deals in niche product line. Also,can ship quality consignment at customer’s doorstep duly on time. The cases of drop shipping fraud are increasing day by day because of the vast competition. Retailers boil themselves searching for suitable dropshippers by either flipping dropshippers directory or browsing the web, still they fail to find a reliable one.

Retailers have to be on their toes to study the profile of a dropshipper before taking a big step i.e. About Company, Reviews, Market Goodwill, etc…

On the contrary, manufacturers or wholesalers whom retailers approach might not respond to their requests as they consider retailers not serious and don’t wish to handle their inventory. This reason can change the positive approach to negative and manufacturers may drop the request stating it not to be worth time investing.

  • Processing merchandise is not easy

Many retailers who work with multiple dropshipping companies might  follow a different set of rules for order processing, billing and shipping if the companies carry different rules for their processes. This makes the retailer’s task cumbersome. The gap between taking an order and processing it to ship can stretch the shipping hours, as a series of conversation and action takes place before the product is sent off to the destination.

  • Niche Product line

Few retailers are cemented to a single product selling, so if a customer does not find better product line at one store, they easily switch to the stores which serve customers with vast options of brands and products. This results in losing those unreached customers who love to shop for various brands and products.

Retailers suffer this situation if they are associated with a dropshipper who procures inventory of a single product line.

For instance:

A potential user browses for designer watches on your website and refines the search to see options of a specific brand. If the visitor doesn’t see multiple designers and styles, this would compel them to leave the site and search for a competitor’s site. This clearly can be a huge loss to single brand stores.

  • Half-filled glass of information and quality assurance

This is the second most important drawback for which a retailer has to worry about. Retailers have basic information to provide and are even not sure about the product quality. They carry only a catalogue with a descriptive information including prices to display in their online stores, everything else is managed and processed by the dropshipper.

  • Order Tracking

After passing the customer’s order to the dropshipper, the retailer has to constantly coordinate with the dropshipper to track the status of the order and time it will take to ship the consignment at the customer’s doorstep. The constant updates via mails,messages or calls consumes precious working hours and disturbs the process of both the parties.

  • Thin Margin line

This is the reason for not choosing dropshipping as the sales strategy. The difference between the marked price and charged price is the profit which a retailer actually earns. The profit is moderate and a retailer hardly earns $2-$5 per product. Even if, the products which a seller is selling are expensive and unique, they cannot determine the margin of the selling price.

  • Customer Service

For a customer, a retailer is responsible for his business and not the dropshipper. He does not even know what sales strategy a retailer follows to complete the selling process and as he is only concerned about the product and quality.

Therefore, for a loss or damage or product enquiry, a customer will rely on a retailer for an immediate response which is difficult in this case. Aftermath, a late or disappointing solution can ruin the business image.

  • Goods Returns

Standard Quality is what makes a customer walks hundreds of stores. If the consignment shipped is of inferior quality, customer will not accept and immediately return at company’s address. Knowingly or unknowingly, a retailer has to bear the loss of defective shipped goods though, he has not fulfilled it.

  • Stock Synchronization

Once the order is picked and packed to the destination, the stock level needs to be updated with both the parties- the retailer and the dropshipper. The dropshipper has to notify in advance about the stock level to escape from out of stock issues otherwise, the last minute call of the stock issue can either double the expense of shipping or the retailer might lose a valuable customer.

  • Competition level is High

To stand alone in the busy crowd, a retailer has to think for unique opportunities rather than following the same line and downline the sales graph. As competition is high, dropshippers have a tendency to charge more from the retailers and the retailers struggle with moderate rates though their selling price is high.

With the same business line, a fear of being swallowed by the competitors resist the temper of the retailer to go either for the unique opportunities or set exclusive policies for the customers.

Wrapping Up

Though, dropshipping carries a set of disadvantages, it’s the best option for the online retailers who look for a better approach to expand their business or want to start from scratch. And, some of the drawbacks can be addressed easily if the process of dropshipping is streamlined using a suitable dropshipping management software.

Orderhive, the leading Inventory Management Software is packed with powerful features and dropshipping is one of them. Using this software, retailers can overcome a few dropshipping drawbacks like Order Tracking, Customer Service, Inventory synchronization,etc and make the process hassle-free.

Why online sellers count on multi-channel software?

In today’s competitive world of eCommerce selling on a single channel hampers growth opportunities and delays success for your business.

Many retailers have seen to adopt multi-channel selling strategy for their eCommerce business as it allows them ability to not only sell via their website but also, across multiple online marketplaces and social media platforms.

Multi-channel sellers with big budgets mostly develop software, in-house, to deal with daily ecommerce functions that include inventory management, sales order processing, fulfilment, and overall customer service.

How multi-channel sellers are being dependent towards multi-channel software?

For sellers having a limited budget, dealing with multi-channel operations without having an integrated solution can quickly eat up capital and increase burden in managing them.

Multi-channel software integration is the buzzword for many sellers, as it allows them to connect with the best eCommerce solutions and ensure repetitive tasks are met with an ease.

Have you adopted a multi-channel model for your eCommerce business?  Do you have a multi-channel software solution in place?

This article will assess the role of multi-channel software in impacting the online performance for any eCommerce business owner.

Let’s begin:-

1. Smartly manage product across all your warehouses and catalogues

Multi-channel 1

Challenge: Selling on your own site and listing products on leading marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, as well as, social media sites like “Facebook” that offers a “Buy Button” can increase sales orders for your eCommerce business.

Not being able to update product levels for all your selling channels as soon as a sale is made, can lead to improper stock counts due to which you may have to deny your customer’s for their or delay fulfillment process.

Solution: Multi-channel inventory software integration for your eCommerce business can help you eliminate the risk of missing on sales opportunities by ensuring you always have stock on hand to fulfil every customer’s orders that come in.

Benefits: This integration is making it easy for sellers to confidently deal with multiple warehouses and product categories as they are able to track stock levels in real-time and manage requirements in a full-proof way.

2. Process orders for your multiple stores from a single screen

Multi-channel 2

Challenge:  With the demand of e-Commerce among online shoppers, today, many sellers are seen to be expanding their reach by listing their product across multiple platforms. This is mostly done to increase brand awareness and sales opportunities, both.

Being loud about your products, but unable to fulfil even one of your customer’s orders can impact bottom line results of your multi-channel online selling business.

Solution: Dealing with each of your selling channel accounts separately, chances of missing out on  sales orders increases. Integrated order management software will help you ensure immediate fulfilment and confirmed delivery.

Benefits: Having an ability to access all your orders details in real-time, such integrated software automatically pulls orders details coming from multiple sources that you sync in one centralized system. This way, it becomes easy to spot new sales orders for your multiple stores and process orders from the same single screen.

3. Fulfil sales orders using the best carriers and improve product delivery experience

Multiple 3

Challenge: With hundreds and thousands of sellers selling identical products across the web, online shoppers will take no time to discontinue your brand if you don’t treat them well. Whether you ship one order per day or hundreds of orders every hour, maintaining order fulfillment efficiency and customer service will be the key to success.

Frequently shipping wrong products and delaying order fulfilment processes will surely create a negative impression of your brand in customer’s mind.

Solution: Integrated shipping management software is allowing sellers to easily connect with multiple carriers that are popular and offer quick fulfilment practices to enhance customer’s experience every time they shop with your brand.

Benefits: Such integrated software is allowing sellers to gain tracking details in real-time, which in turn, can be shared with the customer to keep them in a loop while their orders are in transit. Also, ability to ship via popular shipping companies can help you ensure safe and correct product delivery, always.

4. Improve after-sales support experience

multiple 4

Challenge: Many sellers still overlook the importance of entertaining customer’s concern for their delivered product. Unsatisfied with their purchase, many online shoppers approach brands even after receiving the product.

It’s not always your customer will be right, however, neglecting their concerns will surely make it look you are guilty.

Solution: Firstly, listen to your customer’s concern and if they are not eligible for the return or refund as per mentioned in your T&A’s, you can simply deny them without making them feel bad. However ignoring after-sales concerns, even if not eligible, can spoil your image unnecessarily.

Integrated returns management software will automate and help you perform an efficient returns processing for your all stores in real-time.

Benefits: Create multiple returns or process customer refunds in one click. Transactions will automatically be recorded to avoid further misinterpretations.

Wrapping up

Covering four major operations of an eCommerce business, you can see how integrated software is helping online sellers to keep up with the ever-growing pace of change in the eCommerce industry while delivering seamless and exceptional experiences to their customers.