The Dandelion Energy team installs a geothermal system in a home in New York.(c) 2022 - Credit: Courtesy of Dandelion Energy
Reinvention. That may seem like an obtuse, dramatic, or exaggerated term, but it is exactly what the housing industry needs to meet zero carbon goals in the next couple decades. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, heating water adds up to about 18% of a home’s energy use, and heating the air is the biggest expense in most homes, at up to 50% of energy bills in colder climates.
On the other hand, cooling a home accounts for nearly 6% of all the electricity produced in the US, and costs homeowners more than $29 billion every year. So combined, heating and cooling homes produces 441 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. The country has made massive commitments to changing those numbers, but conventional systems will not produce what is needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
So, manufacturers, designers and industry leaders are breaking through with technologies and ideas that are producing impressive results. One of those examples is Dandelion Energy, as it has identified and is realizing the opportunity for the stable, affordable, and reliable sustainability properties of geothermal heat pumps. Its unique proposition is leveraging the scale of its major investor, Lennar, while also offering financing to customers.
“Heating is really the biggest source of carbon emissions,” said Michael Sachse, the CEO of Dandelion Energy. “AC is electrified, but heating depends on natural gas, sometimes propane and other fuels. It’s a big problem that hasn’t really been solved.” Sachse estimates that 700,000 homes in the US use geothermal for heating and cooling, but it has been a very locally-driven and accidental development that calls on multiple stakeholders to design a system.
This gives Dandelion the opportunity to make it more broadly available with a one-stop solution by applying both data and software to the issue with WiFi-enabled monitoring. While the efficiency and the technology are appealing to homeowners, Sachse realizes that the economics must also make sense, which is why he brought financing in as part of the solution.
“Anytime you invest in something that lowers energy consumption, you spend more up front and then realize that benefit over time, making it a perfect product to finance,” he said. “We have been working on hardware solutions to bring costs down and make solutions more efficient, more comfortable, and easier to install. For instance, we’re examining how much ground loop to put in, which can be the biggest cost.”
The company currently operates in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, where more than three million homes operate on propane or pellet heat and were never connected to the gas grid. In that region, the typical single-pump system for a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $40,000. But that’s just the sticker price. There are huge savings to be realized.
First, there are the incentives from state and local governments, which layer on to the long-term energy savings. Sachse says that incentives and rebates could lower the cost nearly in half to $21,000. With exorbitant costs of heating and cooling, Dandelion’s solutions are attractive because they can help homeowners save up to 80% on heating and 30% on cooling bills, while helping reduce carbon emissions by up to 80%. Not only does the homeowner benefit, so does the supply chain.
With the recently introduced Inflation Reduction Act, the homeowner and the third-party installer both receive a 30% tax credit for 10 years. Plus, the Act also offers a domestic manufacturer rebate for an additional 10%, so the third party could get up to a 40% credit. In the spirit of reimagining the process, Sachse says that Dandelion Energy wants to create a leasing model to lower upfront costs for homeowners who may not benefit from tax credits.
Through a lease program, the company would own the ground loop in partnership with a capital group, which the homeowner could lease with an opportunity to buy. David Maruna, vice president of new construction at Pearl Certification, a home standardization program for higher performance, has been working with Dandelion and has certified its installations. “Dandelion does so much in the home, it can also have an outsized impact in the real estate transaction, which is a boon for the consumer,” he said. Continue Reading..
5 straightforward ways to go from employed to self-employed..getty
If you’re considering taking the leap from employment to self-employment, you’ll feel a mix of excitement and uncertainly. Starting a new business from scratch is a scary prospect for many, holding various unknowns. A better way is to make a plan based on your current situation. Start where you are and use what you have, for a smoother, less daunting way of making the transition.
Here are five straightforward ways of going from employed to self-employed.
Do your existing role as a freelancer
One option is to do the role you currently do, for the same company, but on a freelance rather than employed basis. Perhaps you base the contract on a specific number of days per month or, even better, a specific set of outcomes.
What matters to your existing employer is not the number of hours you do, it’s the output or results you produce and the quality of your work. If you know your job takes you less than 40 hours per week, see if you can turn your employment into a contract instead. Not only will this free up your time to find other clients, it means you can make better use of your time and achieve more with less.
Cutting out the mundane aspects of employment can be efficient and more enjoyable. Saying no to team-wide meetings, performance reviews and appraisals and needing to clock in and out at a certain time might be the flexibility you’re looking for. This baby step could lead to giant leaps and new opportunities opening elsewhere. If you approach the conversation in the right way, your employer will understand the benefits of not having you as a member of staff.
Join freelance marketplaces
Assuming you want to stick within your current field, you could join freelance marketplaces where you build a client base from inbound leads. People Per Hour, Fiverr, Upwork, 99Designs and many others allow you to list yourself and your skills and secure project-based or ongoing work.
Particularly effective for roles including designers and writers, this approach involves you backing yourself to win clients and putting the work in to create an impressive profile, complete with work examples and references. Once that’s done, it could be an abundant resource of future clients. Securing the first few will lead to reviews on the platform, attracting more people to make enquiries.
Whatever your skills, whatever your industry, there are companies and individuals looking for them. Put yourself out there to make sure they find you. Set up your profiles without handing in your notice, then make the transition to self-employment as your workload dictates.
Work as an associate of other self-employed people
Want to do the work but not the business development? Rather than focusing on finding clients for yourself, create relationships with people doing the same work who may have too much to handle. Busy service providers only have so many hours in each week, and they may be happy to pass you clients on a white label basis, or for a finder’s fee.
See collaborators, not competition. Someone doing exactly what you want to do could be your biggest source of income if you get in with them at the right time. Don’t be afraid to ask the question; you never know where it might lead.
Seasoned self-employed professionals are often looking for ways they can make more money and impact without simply working more. Be confident that your proposal is a win-win situation and be exceptional in every interaction with them. They will be looking at you through the eyes of their clients, so be sure to impress.
Become a contractor for other companies
As well as asking your current employer if you could contract for them, make a shortlist of similar companies you could also approach. Graphic designers, for example, could receive regular work from multiple agencies. Same with telesales professionals, business development, HR and legal experts.
Having a range of companies who know your style and pass you work will mean your weeks are varied and flexible. It gives you freedom over your time and freedom over which gigs you accept.
Start with small projects and build up. Enquire about overflow and see if you can lend a hand, then prove yourself and win bigger commissions. Trusted suppliers are worth their weight in gold, and being the favourite contractor of all your clients will mean the work keeps flowing.
Know your ideal client mix before you begin. One day a week for five separate clients or less regular work with more? Perhaps something in the middle? Collect recommendation and keep meeting new companies until you have the ideal amount of work for your revenue and lifestyle goals.
Create a membership or retainer offering
Could what you do take the form of a membership? Imagine a legal advisor starting a $99 club, where businesses can have ad hoc advice in return for a small monthly retainer. As well as taking their calls, you send out helpful summaries and pre-empt problems that may occur. How many clients could you serve and how much value could you have?
This business model could work well for multiple areas of work. Human resources, accountancy, graphic design, research and intelligence. Mind map your membership club and what members receive, then run it by some prospects and see what they think.
Set your revenue goals and work backwards from there, to ascertain the members required and the monthly fee. Aim to add 10x value so the cost to subscribers is a no brainer. Think about what you could throw in. Think about the benefits your clients will access, being part of your club. Ask your current employer and ask your existing clients. Having access to your wisdom on a regular basis might be exactly what they need.
Five ways to go from employment to self-employment without starting from scratch, so you can take the first step right now. If you’re still not sure, think about the worst-case scenario, and what you’d do should it come true. It’s very likely that, as long as you don’t burn any bridges, you could still go back, in which case there’s no reason not to try. Could one of these options be the one you’ve been looking for?
Even as businesses across Australia and New Zealand brace for rising interest rates and costs in the months ahead, protecting one’s cash flow has never been more crucial. Unfortunately, payment delays, along with supply chain issues and labour shortages, continue to be a major pinch point.
“Cash flow is the lifeblood of a business. Without it, a whole heap of problems can arise,” observed Matthew Gannaway, Chief Executive Officer at EC Credit Control.
“From paying suppliers and staff to buying materials, there’s probably nothing more important than a healthy cash flow. Without it, they could face additional pressure from their creditors, and it can take a toll.” Unfortunately, many businesses can struggle with putting structures in place to ensure smooth, punctual payment cycles when it’s not their core business.
As timelines extend between payments, the true cost of not getting paid extends beyond pending invoices. For the average unpaid amount of around $5,000 offering a $250 profit margin on the job, the true cost of the debt is almost 20 times that amount – it lies in the more than $90,000 revenue required to pay back the money lost.
Mr Gannaway elaborated, “It probably starts with their onboarding process and not having an adequate process to clearly understand who it is that they’re dealing with. Short of sending a couple of emails, nothing tangible happens.”
He estimates around 20 to 30 per cent of such payment delays end up translating into strong legal action, which can further affect business activities. “You wouldn’t do that for a couple of thousand dollars but for larger amounts like $20,000 or $50,000, the debt makes a real difference to a small business,” he noted.
Exploring debt management and resolution
Perhaps the best way for businesses to keep up their credibility and relationships while still resolving debt lies in using leading specialists in the industry. With over 80,000 businesses assisted in its three decades of operation, EC Credit Control proudly provides friendly, approachable services to help improve the financial well-being of businesses.
“We really try and maintain the relationship between both parties while seeking resolution on their accounts,” Mr Gannaway explained. “Depending on the reasons, the process could go a few different ways, but we really see ourselves as a support service.” Upon registration, their simple six-step debt resolution process begins with just a two-minute initial stage to load unpaid invoices.
Leveraging data-driven solutions like automated phone data systems and seamless linking to Xero, EC Credit Control has achieved impressive results through its resolution-based approach. In Australia alone, their more than 40,000 clients range from small businesses to large corporations.
“A part of our process is asking for feedback from the businesses that we’ve resolved debt from, like a customer survey. We’re currently sitting at 4.2 out of 5 stars, which goes to show that we’re really trying to work with everyone involved to get the desired result.”
Debt resolution doesn’t have to be an antagonistic process, he adds. “That doesn’t really get anybody anywhere. We don’t want to have that type of confrontation. Instead, the questions we ask are, ‘what’s the best way to resolve this account with you today?’” Mr Gannaway said.
Delivering business documents
Apart from specialising in drafting contracts and privacy policies, a crucial part of their successful process has been ensuring appropriate Terms and Conditions of Trade are in place. Not only does it clearly state obligations and consequences, but it outlines all the duties, timelines, and details involved for both parties.
Malcolm Gay, Australia Sales Manager at EC Credit Control, noted: “It’s a document that establishes the clear relationship with your customer from the beginning, so there’s no ifs or maybes. These terms can vary between industries and between businesses within the same industry. There’s no one size fits all.
“It’s best practice to have some custom terms and conditions in place that are specific to a business and its operation. It’s also important to review them every couple of years or so when legislation changes because it’s likely business operations have changed over time as well.”
As businesses prepare for uncertain times ahead, ensuring processes are kept in writing offers a crucial layer of protection.
“While it may not have been on a business’s agenda to have something like terms and conditions in place, it’s an important step to protect the business in today’s economic climate,” Mr Gay said.
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A ClearOne Certified Debt Specialist can negotiate with your creditors to get you repayment concessions where you typically end up paying less than the amount you currently owe, which allows you to get out of debt more quickly.
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Debt relief plans are suitable for the settling of unsecured debt, such as credit card debt, medical debt, and personal loans. Debt settlement may have some negative impact on your credit score, but this damage is much less significant than what declaring bankruptcy inflicts.
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Reddit revealed on Wednesday night that it has filed for an IPO, news that comes a few months after Reuters reported the company was planning a Wall Street debut at a potential $15 billion valuation.
The filing will remain confidential for now, and details on the planned listing are scarce. But we don’t need the details to know that this will be a closely watched and long-awaited debut for a company that’s been a fixture in venture capital circles since the second Bush administration.
After 16 years and more than $1.3 billion in funding as a private company, Reddit will finally join fellow social media giants like Twitter, Snap and Pinterest as a public one. And after a year in which the /r/WallStreetBets subreddit became a phenomenon and helped spur a frenzy of retail trading, Reddit will soon join that frenzy itself.
There won’t be many notable IPOs between now and the end of the year. But the pipeline for 2022 is looking packed. And it filled up even more this week, as Reddit wasn’t the only major name to make moves toward the public market.
Famed private equity firm TPG also filed for an IPO, this time with a prospectus that’s publicly available. The document shows how the firm has continued to build on an already impressive base in recent years, growing its assets under management from $60 billion in 2016 to $109 billion at the end of this September.
It now has five distinct investment platforms with at least $10 billion in AUM, including $52.6 billion in its flagship TPG Capital buyout business, an array of offerings that demonstrates how the private equity industry has matured since TPG got its start in 1992.
Speculation has swirled for years that TPG might make the move from private firm to public entity, following in the footsteps of rivals like Blackstone (which went public in 2007), KKR (2010) and The Carlyle Group (2012). The recent performance of those firms is surely one reason TPG decided to take the leap. Private equity stocks have soared this year, with a huge volume of deals driving huge profits. Carlyle stock is up 67% since the beginning of January, while KKR is up 81%.
It’s a trend that’s already caused a few different private equity investors to go public on the other side of the Atlantic. The U.K.’s Bridgepoint and France’s Antin Infrastructure Partners both conducted IPOs earlier this year. Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, conducted a listing in London for its Petershill Partners unit, which holds minority GP stakes in more than a dozen other private equity firms.TPG appears to be next in line.
This one might be farther in the distance, but delivery startup Gopuff has begun planning an IPO of its own that could occur in the second half of 2022, according to Bloomberg. To call the company’s recent growth explosive would be to undersell it: Gopuff was valued at $190 million in 2017, $1 billion in 2018, $2.2 billion in 2019, $3.9 billion in 2020 and $15 billion with a new round of funding this July, per PitchBook.
And that number could continue to shoot up. Axios reported this week that Gopuff issued a $1.5 billion convertible note led by Guggenheim Partners that could value the company at as much as $40 billion.
Based in Philadelphia, Gopuff is a different kind of delivery company than the likes of DoorDash and Instacart, relying on a network of hundreds of its own small fulfillment centers to house goods rather than buying from other restaurants and grocery stores. But Gopuff has benefited from changing consumer tastes amid the pandemic in the same ways that DoorDash and Instacart have—which goes a long way toward explaining its new status as one of America’s most valuable startups.
The broader IPO market has cooled down in recent weeks from its prior incendiary state, with fewer listings going off and fewer enormous first-week gains. But dealmakers across the financial industry expect things to heat back up in 2022. And the planned listings of Reddit, TPG and Gopuff will only add fuel to the fire.
The first week of earnings season wraps up with major indices closely tracking the bond market in Wall Street’s version of “follow the leader.” Earnings absolutely matter, but right now the Fed’s policies are maybe a bigger influence. In the short-term the Fed is still the girl everyone wants to dance with.
Lately, you can almost guess where stocks are going just by checking the 10-year Treasury yield, which often moves on perceptions of what the Fed might have up its sleeve. The yield bounced back from lows this morning to around 1.32%, and stock indices climbed a bit in pre-market trading. That was a switch from yesterday when yields fell and stocks followed suit. Still, yields are down about six basis points since Monday, and stocks are also facing a losing week.
It’s unclear how long this close tracking of yields might last, but maybe a big flood of earnings due next week could give stocks a chance to act more on fundamental corporate news instead of the back and forth in fixed income. Meanwhile, retail sales for June this morning basically blew Wall Street’s conservative estimates out of the water, and stock indices edged up in pre-market trading after the data.
Headline retail sales rose 0.6% compared with the consensus expectation for a 0.6% decline, and with automobiles stripped out, the report looked even stronger, up 1.3% vs. expectations for 0.3%. Those numbers are incredibly strong and show the difficulty analysts are having in this market. The estimates missed consumer strength by a long shot. However, it’s also possible this is a blip in the data that might get smoothed out with July’s numbers. We’ll have to wait and see.
Caution Flag Keeps Waving
Yesterday continued what feels like a “risk-off” pattern that began taking hold earlier in the week, but this time Tech got caught up in the selling, too. In fact, Tech was the second-worst performing sector of the day behind Energy, which continues to tank on ideas more crude could flow soon thanks to OPEC’s agreement.
We already saw investors embracing fixed income and “defensive” sectors starting Tuesday, and Thursday continued the trend. When your leading sectors are Utilities, Staples, Real Estate, the way they were yesterday, that really suggests the surging bond market’s message to stocks is getting read loudly and clearly.
This week’s decline in rates also isn’t necessarily happy news for Financial companies. That being said, the Financials fared pretty well yesterday, with some of them coming back after an early drop. It was an impressive performance and we’ll see if it can spill over into Friday.
Energy helped fuel the rally earlier this year, but it’s struggling under the weight of falling crude prices. Softness in crude isn’t guaranteed to last—and prices of $70 a barrel aren’t historically cheap—but crude’s inability to consistently hold $75 speaks a lot. Technically, the strength just seems to fade up there. Crude is up slightly this morning but still below $72 a barrel.
All of the FAANGs lost ground yesterday after a nice rally earlier in the week. Another key Tech name, chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA), got taken to the cleaners with a 4.4% decline despite a major analyst price target increase to $900. NVDA has been on an incredible roll most of the year.
This week’s unexpectedly strong June inflation readings might be sending some investors into “flight for safety” mode, though no investment is ever truly “safe.” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sounded dovish in his congressional testimony Wednesday and Thursday, but even Powell admitted he hadn’t expected to see inflation move this much above the Fed’s 2% target.
Keeping things in perspective, consider that the S&P 500 Index (SPX) did power back late Thursday to close well off its lows. That’s often a sign of people “buying the dip,” as the saying goes. Dip-buying has been a feature all year, and with bond yields so low and the money supply so huge, it’s hard to argue that cash on the sidelines won’t keep being injected if stocks decline.
Two popular stocks that data show have been popular with TD Ameritrade clients are Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT), and both of them have regularly benefited from this “dip buying” trend. Neither lost much ground yesterday, so if they start to rise today, consider whether it reflects a broader move where investors come back in after weakness. However, one day is never a trend.
Reopening stocks (the ones tied closely to the economy’s reopening like airlines and restaurants) are doing a bit better in pre-market trading today after getting hit hard yesterday.
In other corporate news today, vaccine stocks climbed after Moderna (MRNA) was added to the S&P 500. BioNTech (BNTX), which is Pfizer’s (PFE) vaccine partner, is also higher. MRNA rose 7% in pre-market trading.
Strap In: Big Earnings Week Ahead
Earnings action dies down a bit here before getting back to full speed next week. Netflix (NFLX), American Express (AXP), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), United Airlines (UAL), AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), American Airlines (AAL) and Coca-Cola (KO) are high-profile companies expected to open their books in the week ahead.
It could be interesting to hear from the airlines about how the global reopening is going. Delta (DAL) surprised with an earnings beat this week, but also expressed concerns about high fuel prices. While vaccine rollouts in the U.S. have helped open travel back up, other parts of the globe aren’t faring as well. And worries about the Delta variant of Covid don’t seem to be helping things.
Beyond the numbers that UAL and AAL report next week, the market may be looking for guidance from their executives about the state of global travel as a proxy for economic health. DAL said travel seems to be coming back faster than expected. Will other airlines see it the same way? Earnings are one way to possibly find out.Even with the Delta variant of Covid gaining steam, there’s no doubt that at least in the U.S, the crowds are back for sporting events.
For example, the baseball All-Star Game this week was packed. Big events like that could be good news for KO when it reports earnings. PepsiCo (PEP) already reported a nice quarter. We’ll see if KO can follow up, and whether its executives will say anything about rising producer prices nipping at the heels of consumer products companies.
Confidence Game: The 10-year Treasury yield sank below 1.3% for a while Thursday but popped back to that level by the end of the day. It’s now down sharply from highs earlier this week. Strength in fixed income—yields fall as Treasury prices climb—often suggests lack of confidence in economic growth.
Why are people apparently hesitant at this juncture? It could be as simple as a lack of catalysts with the market now at record highs. Yes, bank earnings were mostly strong, but Financial stocks were already one of the best sectors year-to-date, so good earnings might have become an excuse for some investors to take profit. Also, with earnings expectations so high in general, it takes a really big beat for a company to impress.
Covid Conundrum: Anyone watching the news lately probably sees numerous reports about how the Delta variant of Covid has taken off in the U.S. and case counts are up across almost every state. While the human toll of this virus surge is certainly nothing to dismiss, for the market it seems like a bit of an afterthought, at least so far. It could be because so many of the new cases are in less populated parts of the country, which can make it seem like a faraway issue for those of us in big cities. Or it could be because so many of us are vaccinated and feel like we have some protection.
But the other factor is numbers-related. When you hear reports on the news about Covid cases rising 50%, consider what that means. To use a baseball analogy, if a hitter raises his batting average from .050 to .100, he’s still not going to get into the lineup regularly because his average is just too low. Covid cases sank to incredibly light levels in June down near 11,000 a day, which means a 50% rise isn’t really too huge in terms of raw numbers and is less than 10% of the peaks from last winter. We’ll be keeping an eye on Covid, especially as overseas economies continue to be on lockdowns and variants could cause more problems even here. But at least for now, the market doesn’t seem too concerned.
Dull Roar: Most jobs that put you regularly on live television in front of millions of viewers require you to be entertaining. One exception to that rule is the position held by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. It’s actually his job to be uninteresting, and he’s arguably very good at it. His testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday was another example, with the Fed chair staying collected even as senators from both sides of the aisle gave him their opinions on what the Fed should or shouldn’t do. The closely monitored 10-year Treasury yield stayed anchored near 1.33% as he spoke.
Even if Powell keeps up the dovishness, you can’t rule out Treasury yields perhaps starting to rise in coming months if inflation readings continue hot and investors start to lose faith in the Fed making the right call at the right time. Eventually people might start to demand higher premiums for taking on the risk of buying bonds. The Fed itself, however, could have something to say about that.
It’s been sopping up so much of the paper lately that market demand doesn’t give you the same kind of impact it might have once had. That’s an argument for bond prices continuing to show firmness and yields to stay under pressure, as we’ve seen the last few months. Powell, for his part, showed no signs of being in a hurry yesterday to lift any of the stimulus.
TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.
I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66.
Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retailers satisfy demand identified through a supply chain. The term “retailer” is typically applied where a service provider fills the small orders of many individuals, who are end-users, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele. Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products.
Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods, including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it takes place as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.
Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store’s overall market positioning. Once the strategic retail plan is in place, retailers devise the retail mix which includes product, price, place, promotion, personnel, and presentation.
In the digital age, an increasing number of retailers are seeking to reach broader markets by selling through multiple channels, including both bricks and mortar and online retailing. Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services. Retailing support services may also include the provision of credit, delivery services, advisory services, stylist services and a range of other supporting services.
Retail shops occur in a diverse range of types of and in many different contexts – from strip shopping centres in residential streets through to large, indoor shopping malls. Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to create a more comfortable shopping environment – protecting customers from various types of weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, winds or precipitation. Forms of non-shop retailing include online retailing (a type of electronic-commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions) and mail order