Economy

The digital shoebox… 10 businesses heading for extinction… Study more, earn more… Debit cards preferred

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Shoebox filing goes digital

You might think it’s hard to think of more efficient way of storing your receipts that just stuffing them willy-nilly in a shoebox. Well, Springwise reports that a bunch of young tech-wizzes from the US have come up with an easier to use online equivalent called Shoeboxed.com.

After enrolling for the free service, users receive an email address that they can give to merchants when buying online. The receipts then go to their Shoeboxed mailbox, where they’re safely stored. The service allows members to organise their receipts by creating virtual shoeboxes that can be labelled according to their purpose.

So how does Shoeboxed make its money? At the moment, Springwise says, it isn’t, and instead is operating on money from its angel investor. In the future, Shoeboxed aims to have several revenue streams focused around a premium service, but for the moment, like so many other web start-ups, it’s living on the hope of generating an income flow some time down the track.

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10 businesses that will go the way of the dodo in a decade

Entrepreneur.com has come up with a list of 10 businesses that are facing extinction in 10 years.

1. Record stores: Record stores are closing in, well, record numbers. One of the most prominent music retailers, Tower Records, shut down all 89 stores last year after concluding it couldn’t withstand the onslaught of online music stores and chains like Wal-Mart, which can offer lower prices and sell other items to offset the smaller number of CDs being sold.

2. Camera film manufacturing: The numbers tell the story. According to The Chicago Tribune, from May 2006 to May 2007, the volume of prints made from digital cameras grew by 34%. Film camera sales meanwhile, fell by 49%, while digital camera sales grew by 5%.

3. Crop dusters: They’ll be around in 10 years, but likely not in their present form. The average age of the typical crop duster is 60 and the number of crop dusters is dwindling – and the profession can be dangerous. Just several weeks ago, an Arkansas crop dusting company was ordered to stop flying in Iowa after spraying farm workers with a fungicide; 36 farm hands in a cornfield had to be decontaminated by a hazardous materials crew.

4. Gay bars: As The Orlando Sentinel noted in a recent article, around the country gay bars have been going out of business as gay men and women have been gaining greater acceptance in society. What used to be a hangout for people who felt unwelcome elsewhere is becoming less necessary.

5. Newspapers: You’re reading this aren’t you? High costs and increasingly fragmented audiences make paper-in-your-hand newspapers a tough call. Online news, however, is a different story.

6. Pay phones: In 1997, there were more than two million pay phones in the US; now there are approximately half as many. The obvious reason – mobile phones are everywhere.

7. Used bookstores: A used bookstore used to be the place to find that beloved, out-of-print children’s book you used to read 17 times a day until your little sister flushed it down the toilet. Now you just type that title in a search engine and order it within minutes.

8. Piggy banks: Electro-piggy banks will be around, maybe, but as we move into an increasingly cashless society, are we really going to keep carrying around all that heavy, jangley change?

9. Telemarketing: Do Not Call lists in Australia and around the world are making life harder for telemarketers. Having said that, one suspects telemarketers are kind of like cockroaches – nobody likes them, we do what we can to exterminate them, but they’ll probably outlive us all.

10. Coin-operated arcades: The popularity of gaming consoles such as the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360 has hit the video game arcade industry where it hurts. Last year US revenue from arcade game units was around $US866 million, compared to a whopping $US2.3 billion in 1994.

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Further study offers good value

New data from Graduate Careers Australia (CGA) shows that the medium salary for post-graduates in full-time work increased in 2006 to $60,000, up $1900 on the previous year. The number of post-grads with a job increased too – up 1.1% to 89.9% in 2006.

It pays to do the extra study: the median salary for bachelor degree holders is $42,000. But do too much and you’ll earn less. PhD graduates have a median salary of $60,700, while Masters graduates have a median salary of $65,000.

New engineers, finance and accounting professionals with postgraduate qualifications are in greatest demand.

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Debit cards on the rise

Consumers are turning away from EFTPOS in favour of debit cards. Research by Retail Finance Intelligence indicates that younger consumers prefer the greater functionality of scheme debit, reports The Australian Financial Review.

In September 2007, the Australian Payments Clearing Association and the Australian Bankers’ Association announced plans to investigate options for a co-ordinating body. The body would try to increase the functionality of EFTPOS, with options such as the capacity for overseas and online transactions.

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