Medical Records Retrieval for Law Firms

• MODERN MEDICAL RECORDS RETRIEVAL SERVICE – AUTOMATION, COMPLIANCE, SAVINGS

The modern Medical Records Retrieval (MRR) service is a combination of modern web-based technology and a rules-compliant outsource solution. Historically lawyers and their staff would have to set aside a portion of their time, often a lot of time, to capture necessary information for cases that involved medical records. It’s not that the process is complex. Quite the contrary, every attorney, paralegal, and litigation-support person knows exactly what needs to be done.

It may appear simple, but it is a very manually intensive process. Someone at the firm must acknowledge the need for the records. Necessary forms must be completed to ensure compliance with a myriad of laws (including HIPAA), which the firm and often the patient (who may or may not be the firm’s client) would need to initiate a request. Then, the firm must track the progress of the request, and eventually receive, review, and organize the results, or note that there were no medical records available related to the matter.

To support the business of running a law practice, sophisticated and affordable software tools include new client/business intake, workflow automation, and conflicts management. Vendors who provide early case assessment tools and e-discovery-based technology-assisted review have begun to offer solutions for small firm and solo practitioners. In this article, we will show you how you can improve productivity, lower costs, and better manage billing for MRR expenses.

How Medical Records Retrieval Services Work

Here’s how a typical MRR service works for a small firm/solo practice. One of the firm’s employees logs into a secure, encrypted website. He or she then submits an order outlining the patient’s information, the records being requested, and any other data necessary to complete the request. What happens next is truly a game-changing activity. Instead of the firm’s billable resources chasing record requests from hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers, they go back to doing other, productive work, while the MRR process self-executes, and eventually provides you with the requested information and documents or informs you that there were no responsive documents.

Questions Regarding MRR Services

The availability of MRR services presents all attorneys, but especially solo and small firms, with the following important questions:

• How do you start with an MRR service?

• How are the record requests processed?

• Is this process HIPAA-compliant?

• When and how am I alerted to the status of my requests?

• How do I distribute the costs/fees associated with outsourcing medical records retrieval?

Choosing Your MRR Provider

To reduce the risk of choosing the wrong MRR service, consider the following best practices:

1) Ensure that the MRR service can prove secure access to its website (and your records) via a login and password.

2) Understand the MRR service’s processes to ensure protection of privacy.

3) Understand its service level agreements, which explain their process and anticipated turnaround time.

4) Verify that the MRR service has experience with expediting record requests by requesting a list of reference clients.

5) Review the process by which you and/or your staff are notified of updates, including record availability or notice of “no record found.”

6) Ask for the MRR service’s price schedule, preferably in a format that will permit you to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the fees of other MRR services.

When possible, a dedicated MRR service is a better choice than a firm that offers a multitude of legal practice services of which records retrieval is only a small subset of their overall business.

Getting Started with the MRR Provider

Upon choosing your MRR provider, the steps to starting to work with the provider are straightforward and similar to those when signing up with any on-line type of service:

• The firm identifies the approved personnel who are authorized to access the secure system.

• A unique user ID is created for the firm at this time, with a strong password required for all future access.

• Often, this is also the time that billing information is provided, and thus a financial account with the firm and MRR is created for future invoicing.

• Each authorized person completes a new user profile and sign-on request. The user must provide email and phone contact information.

• It is the responsibility of the law firm to notify the MRR as soon as possible in the event that an existing authorized user should be removed from the access control. The MRR should remedy and respond as soon as the user access has been removed.

• While the use of the MRR site should be quite easy for most users with minimal training, additional site support generally is available from the MRR’s services personnel via phone or email request.

Safeguarding Privacy

No matter how beneficial the technology, the firm must ensure compliance of federal and state HIPAA guidelines and any ethical rules about maintaining client confidences. Therefore, they must ensure that the MRR service collects, hosts, and provides access to client(s) records while maintaining compliance with privacy guidelines. Note: This should be part of your due diligence when selecting a provider.

The MRR Service should comply with Federal and state privacy laws. MRR services should keep up to date with changing rules of privacy such as the HITECH Act.

MRR agreements should expressly state that no personally identifiable health information (PHI) can ever be used for non-business related activities such as marketing and/or sales lead generation.

Record Processing

Once you have chosen an MRR service and set up your account, obtaining medical records is relatively straight-forward:

• After you enter a request into the system, the MRR service creates an MRR record request connected to the unique ID of the requester (the specific user at your firm), and confirms receipt of the request via an email.

• A reviewer is assigned to assess the necessary actions to fulfill the request, and will notify the user of any questions regarding the record request. In some states, including California, an electronic request can be executed from the MRR service to the healthcare provider, eliminating the need for paper-based transaction.

• The provider then tracks the request, and conducts any follow-up communication by any means available, including email, telephone or in-person visits if necessary, to acquire clear copies of records requested.

• If the record is available and legible, it is scanned into the secure web-based system for access by the user. Otherwise, a “no record found” is annotated to the request, and communicated back to the user.

Communication Is Key

Nothing can be more frustrating to case management than waiting for needed information from a third party. The MRR service must not only forward the record request to the healthcare provider, but also must provide the firm an ongoing and timely response regarding status. Each record must be tracked in real-time with detailed notes from the MRR agents. The MRR service should send alerts if additional information is required, provide replies via email, and deliver the link to download and/or view completed requests as soon as the records become available. Again, during the selection process, you should ascertain the provider’s practices regarding communications, and include them in the contract.

Speed Is Critical Too

Obtaining the medical records timely is critical, whether to respond to discovery, to make or oppose a motion for summary judgment, to get an expert up to speed, or to settle a case. A reliable MRR service will offer a quick turnaround. They have the experience working with medical locations to obtain records faster than a law firm’s in-house staff. After all, a law firm staff member may encounter (or, in truth, may feel like they have gotten stuck with) the occasional medical record search, but the MRR service is a specialist in the process of collecting information, including “no records found.” So, the MRR service’s very job is obtaining medical records, and therefore will have the process down to a set of specific steps, and can support their clients via a web interface.

Relationships With Healthcare Providers

Sometimes hospitals, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare providers may treat the occasional request by an attorney for medical records as an inconvenience, not respond as quickly or perhaps as completely as the attorney or client would like. A smart MRR service will develop long-term relationships with healthcare providers and their staff to get the data needed promptly and efficiently. This will improve the quality of the document production, reduce its cost, and speed the process up.

Database Strength

Medical records often can be in a different location or city than the healthcare provider. For example, billing records for hospitals are usually in an offsite facility, sometimes in another state. With the advent of electronic records, more healthcare providers are centralizing their records offsite with the umbrella company of their medical group/hospital. Without the information on how and where to request records, in-house staff can waste valuable time sending requests to the wrong locations or having to spend the time to find out where to send the requests. A strong database on where and how to request records from healthcare providers therefore is key to save time, ensure complete result, and save money. MRR services have the incentive and the resources to develop such a database. Law firms, especially solos and small firms, do not.

In addition the importance on the database in requesting medical records, it is equally important on the production side. Virtually all medical records are produced in digital format. Records are typically available in PDF or TIFF file format, making them searchable by many document management systems – including on premise, cloud-based, web-based or hybrid systems. They are usually made available for download and/or viewing from virtually anywhere on any device that supports a secure micro-browser. The MRR service maintains the medical records for ongoing access by the user and any authorized personnel.

MRR Costs and other Considerations

The MRR service will charge you for their services. However, because the firm’s resources are freed up to work on activities that generate revenue for the firm, the costs of using an MRR service will be offset at least in part, and perhaps in full. In addition, depending on your fee arrangement with your client, the invoices from the MRR service may be directly billable back to the client or at least accounted for as a recoverable cost. (Many MRR services charge no monthly fees for having an account, and thus the firm only incur fees on a usage basis, which can then be charged to the cases for which they are required.)

Summary

While many firms may continue the “do-it-yourself” approach, solos and small firms should consider using an MRR service. In addition to the higher costs of installing and maintaining one’s own record management system, the soft costs and resource consumption make this a less favorable alternative. A qualified, experienced MRR service offers a cost effective, robust platform for processing, monitoring, and tracking medical records requests. Record management and processing is HIPAA-compliant, always available, and secure-which in-house processes may not be, with the attendant risks. Use of an MRR service does not require capital expense to leverage digitally filed and maintained medical records. Firm resources can be repurposed from tracking record requests to meaningful and fee-generating activities. Client satisfaction may improve as matters are able to be processed more efficiently, and firm business may increase. The results of using an MRR service are measureable and immediate. It’s literally a one-click quantum leap from manual, resource-heavy processes to a modern, digital, secure web based management for your practice.

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The Best Places For Destination Weddings

Wedding bells are ringing everywhere! If you’re someone who is planning to get married on the coming year then you need to read what we have to say before you make any further wedding plans. For all us, the day we get married is probably the most important day of our lives and we want to make sure it is arranged that way as well. To do that, you don’t necessarily have to throw a grand wedding at the most expensive place around. A simple and much cheaper alternative is to get married at one of the following locations which are known for their exotic beauty and their services all of which are at your beck and call for very economical prices. And before you move on, here’s a tip – if you’re planning a destination wedding make sure you book flight tickets well in advance!

1. Belize:
This place is on top of our list of wedding destinations and the reason for that is because it offers so much for so little. The place has some extremely beautiful destinations and rainforests as well as old Mayan ruins. Oh and let’s not forget that this place is also home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. The best thing about this place is that instead of being filled with expensive resorts like most of the other exotic travel locations, it has a lot of economical lodges and the sea food here is divine yet cheap too. So you can even host a wedding feast filled with exotic sea food but still save a lot in your pocket.

2. Jamaica:
The best thing about Jamaica is that it provides you with a choice of two very different and equally beautiful locations. You can choose to get married on the white sandy beaches or near the Rocky Mountains depending on what you like. Or maybe you could get married on the beach and throw the dinner or reception in the mountains to get the best of both worlds. And on top of that, the arrangements here are really cheap as compared to other travel destinations.

3. Vermont:
This small collection of beautiful landscapes and homey villages is probably the best travel destination to get married in. The scenic beauty here gives you the perfect backdrop to take your wedding vows and have a fun pre or post wedding shoot too. There are a lot of cozy and warm bed and baths here as well as halls where you can hold your wedding party. And the best part of this is that you can get all of this at very very economical prices.

Now that you know the best places to get married in, we suggest that you start planning for your perfect destination wedding and make sure you book flight tickets well before time so as to avoid any unnecessary delays and problems in your plans! All the best! Cheers to new beginnings!

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Useful Travel Tips About Seasons And Weather in Langkawi

Langkawi has the same type of climate as Thailand. It is known as a tropical monsoon climate. It can sometimes also be labeled as a “tropical wet climate” although that’s not always the case year round. It’s paradise climate makes Langkawi a great place to visit, but it’s wise to learn about the different types of weather before booking that perfect vacation.

For those that are accustomed to the usual four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, Thailand may seem like a different planet! Its summers and winters may seem backward although It is usually warm all year round with temperatures ranging from an average of 27 degrees Celsius (81°F) during the coldest month of July to about 29 (81°F) during the hottest month of February.

With that said, rather than traditional seasons, Langkawi experiences only a wet season and a dry season. In terms of traveling, these are known as the low season and the high season respectively. This is because many tourists only prefer to visit during the dry season as to avoid the rain and possible monsoons.

Dry Season (high season):

November through March is the busiest time. During this time, Langkawi experiences the most traffic.

Following the heavy rains of the wet season, the plant life thrives creating beautiful sights.

Due to the high influx of visitors, many of the prices are raised to compete with demand.

Wet Season (low season):

July to October is when the Langkawi tourism business slows

The rain varies in levels of intensity. Sometimes intense flooding is possible.

On many occasions, the rain doesn’t last long but is very strong

During this time, boat travel is not always available

For those looking to hire a Koh Lipe ferry to Langkawi, it may still be possible to do during the wet season as long as the travel plans are made to be flexible. However, traveling by ferry from Langkawi to Phuket or even hiring a Langkawi to Krabi ferry is not recommended during the wet season.

During the dry season, it’s extremely common to find a ferry between these popular travel destinations. In fact, it is the preferred way to travel as many places in and around Thailand are too small to have their own airport.

In either season, wet or dry, it is usually possible to hire a ferry to KohLipe to Langkawi and vice versa without any problem. They offer very competitive pricing and have experience in transporting tourists and locals alike from island to island. There are also speed boats available as well for those looking for a faster ride.

It is important to choose the time of year carefully to get the best experience in Langkawi. Of course it all depends on of the preferences of each and every traveler, but usually, a vacationer wouldn’t want to spend their getaway avoiding a flood! On the other hand, some may be adventurous and find exactly what they’re looking for no matter the weather!

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Online Presence And Reputation Are Key Factors Behind Successful Businesses

Online directories can be quite beneficial for startups and small business firms. Business owners just need to understand how online business directories work. Online directories are site submission services which allow businesses’ sites to be added to particular categories where the websites become easy for interested visitors to search.

Web directories and their importance

Online business directories let the target traffic to search for businesses and websites which they want to know more about or find interesting. Adding a business’s site to an online directory can increase the site’s online visibility. Moreover, online business directories can make it simple and easy to find what people are searching for.

The concept of such business directories is a simple one. These directories are quite similar to the Yellow Pages. Online business directories are just listing places for business websites. Any kind of site can be listed in online directories. Some directories are enormous and cover all topics that people can create websites for. On the other hand, there are small online directories that cover only a particular niche.

Get listed in a web directory to improve your business performance

To keep it straight, online business directories can direct people to any site which they want to find. People just need to search for particular categories or different types of categories till they find the kind of sites they are searching for. When someone browses through an online directory, they will be given lists of sites which relate to their keyword. They will also be given a list of links to the sites. These links will also have short descriptions about the websites. People can go through these descriptions and decide which one they want to choose.

Online reputation is vital any business these days

Exposure is a vital requirement of all kinds of marketing strategies. In fact, when people are more exposed to a business, they most likely will make use of the business’s services. When a business doesn’t have a proper online presence and online reputation, even its existence might not be known to people. If this happens, then business has great chances to become a failure.

Listing businesses’ sites in online business directories can help sites in gaining exposure. Tons of online visitors get to make use of such directories for finding things that interest them. These are prospect buyers who actively search for sites which are related to services or products that one’s business may be all about. Web directories can expose businesses to the target visitors. Hence, websites will get an increased amount of target online traffic. Apart from getting listed in online business directories, it is also important for businesses to have positive reviews online.

What more you need to boost your business

There are a few important reasons why businesses should take advantage of reputable online business directories for getting more prospects. On a daily basis, prospective customers keep searching for different types of business for finding solutions to their problems. This is when they may come across online business directories that may list of the types of sites they are in need of.

Make sure your business has positive reviews online

When potential customers find businesses on the internet, they go through online reviews for making sure that they get in touch with the right company or people. When businesses have good reviews on the internet can build their credibility. Such reviews can also let people know that businesses are reliable so that they can trust them. In addition to increased online exposure and positive reviews, online business directories don’t bother people’s budget.

Money matters at the end of the day

There are loads of online directories which can be used by business owners for free to list their businesses. This is one aspect that makes online directories one best marketing strategies, when it comes to running a business successfully. Any small business owner who wants to improve the online reputation and presence of his or her business may utilize the service of an online business directory.

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How Using Social Media Can Affect Your MLM Business

Almost everyone has some form of social media whether it be for business or fun, people can pretty much find anyone they want to find and check them out. In this article, you are going to learn how using social media can affect your MLM business.

Social media can be a great asset to you and help you attract more team members and customers or social media can make people run from you like you have a disease. Before you post something on social media, just remember that unless you have a certain privacy setting on your content, anyone will be able to see it. The truth is that if you post it on the internet, people that you might not want to see it can probably get to it anyway.

When you are serious about building an MLM business, you have to run a great media company. You need to be able to show people who you are in a good light so they will be proud to work with you. Would you partner in business with someone if you weren’t proud to work with them? Probably not.

Clean It Up

I can’t tell you how many times I go to people’s social page just to find out that I cannot find one picture of them on their timeline. Many times their profile picture is a dog, cat or one of their kids. Since I have no idea who this person is or why they want to be friends, I just ignore the invite.

If you want to have people accept your friend requests or request to be friends with you then you want to have a clean social profile so that people know what who is behind the profile.

Controversy

If you want to build a strong social presence then you don’t want to be arguing with people back and forth over controversial topics. Save that for your close friends because no one wins an internet back and forth.

Now you know how social media can affect your MLM business. I hope you clean it up and are using social media in a way that can help your business and not hurt your business.

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How to Take a Vacation And Make More Money In Your MLM Business

Being able to make more money in your business when you are taking a vacation sounds amazing and it is possible. In this article, you will learn how to take a vacation and make more money in your MLM business.

There are 3 reasons that you will be able to make more money in your MLM business because of your vacation so get ready to pack your bags.

Shows the Lifestyle

The last thing people want to “sign up” for is another job but when you can show how network marketing allows you to travel and enjoy life, more people will be interested in joining your team and coming on board with your business. Show people the lifestyle by going out there and living life. Not everyone is impressed by your ability to be a shut in.

Sense of Urgency to Get Things Done

When we are getting ready for vacation we understand that we need to get things done. We often get more done in the last few days before a vacation than we have gotten done all month. This is because our brains are helping us work toward the reward instead of just trying to keep busy with mundane tasks.

Clears Your Mind

After you get back from your vacation, you are going to have a new drive and desire to get things done. You will be operating with a clear mind. It is kind of life rebooting your brain so that you can think clearly and be able to get things done in a much more efficient manner.

So, now that you know, get ready to take your vacation and reap the benefits. Grow your network marketing business and enjoy your life at the same time.

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The Etiquette of Using Office Supplies

Just like having a roommate requires certain rules of conduct about sharing a bathroom, kitchen, food etc., the cabinet that holds the office supplies also has its own set of rules. Breaking these rules can have very unpleasant consequences, and you may find when you come to work one morning that all the items on your desk have been super glued onto it, making it impossible to get any work done. It is best to know what the rules are, in case you find yourself in an awkward situation with a coworker regarding who took the last box of paperclips.

Rule #1: Never Take More Than You Need. There is sometimes nothing more frustrating than needing liquid paper, finding it all gone in the supply cabinet, then reporting it to a supervisor, only to find that the person in the office next door has a drawer full of it when you go to ask them if you can borrow some. Having more supplies than you need shortens the supply in the cabinet for other employees. It also makes the person ordering the supplies think that it is being used rapidly, which causes them to order more, spending more of the company’s money. If the company is spending a lot of money on office supplies, and you are hoarding liquid paper in a drawer, don’t expect to get a raise.

Rule #2: If Something Is Gone, Say Something: I know you think your office manager has supernatural powers because they can somehow always catch you watching YouTube clips when you are supposed to be working. The fact is, that your office manager or the person in charge of ordering supplies is probably not a mind reader. If you go to the supply closet, and find that it is lacking something that you need, in order to get some more, you have to report it. If you don’t say anything about it, then you can’t complain when the next order comes in lacking the supplies you require.

Rule #3: Throw Away The Empty Boxes or Containers: One of the most frustrating things that can happen in the office, is for example, having your highlighter run out of ink, going to the supply closet to get another one, picking up the box that contains them, only to find you are holding an empty box. This is an office no-no. If you take the last of something in the supply closet, make sure you throw the box or container that was holding it, away. Not throwing away empty containers and boxes in the supply closet gives people false hope. To prevent your office accountant threatening to staple you to your chair, throw away the box when you take the last highlighter.

Now that you know how to behave and what to in regards to the closet the office supplies are kept in, you should take note. You probably have enough to deal with at work without the person in the cubicle next to you giving you the stink eye for the eighteen boxes of binder clips you have tucked away. Only take what you need, if something is gone, tell your supervisor, and always throw away the empty boxes or containers. If the office accountant does decided to staple you to your chair, it won’t be because you were foolish about the supply closet, it will be because he is crazy.

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How to Live a More Exciting Life With Network Marketing

If you are a network marketing professional then you have the ability to live an amazingly exciting life. In this article, we are going to talk about how to live a more exciting life with network marketing.

When you are working in network marketing you have the ability to be working from anywhere in the world now that we have the internet. There is no reason to be constrained to one area of the world. We can go anywhere in the world and still support our teams and show people how to be successful in our organizations.

If we don’t design it is not going to happen. If you do not know where you want to go, what you want to do and how you want to do it, it’s not going to happen. This is why we need to create dream lines. We need to know what we are going to fill our free time with once we create it. If we don’t know what we are going to do with the free time, we will find something to fill it.

The biggest trap is getting addicted to working for work’s sake. Instead of working for work’s safe we need to create systems that will work for us and fill our time with things we enjoy doing. What are some hobbies that you have? What are some causes you want to help with?

Network marketing allows us to live any lifestyle that we want to live and create passive, residual income but we have to tell life what we want. It is not enough just to have a dream board. You have to have a game plan.

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Personals Like Craigslist – But Better!

If you go looking, you will find personals like Craigslist all over the internet. Most sites offering online classifieds have a personals section nowadays. They all suffer from the same problem, however. And this problem will usually result in you wasting time and often losing money.

This article is here to give you fair warning about the drawbacks to using these internet classifieds and also a solution that is a much better alternative for you to find a date or casual encounter.

The problem with personals like Craigslist is the huge number of con artists using the service to market dating products. If you post a personal ad, you will receive dozens, sometimes hundreds of responses. The majority of these emails will come from clever internet marketers, posing as attractive women who want you to join a dating service in order to meet them.

Some of those emails will come from real women, true, but how are you to tell which ones are real and which are fake? There is no way. Which means, though the personals at Craigslist are a good concept, they tend not to work for most of us.

The solution that most people overlook is to use a big-name dating service. Most people are put off by these services because they think you need to pay to use them. Not true. You only pay for premium features. And, let us face it, if you do pay for premium features, that is probably a small cost to pay for what you get.

And what do you get? Well major dating sites are personals like Craigslist in many ways. You can join for free and use many of their services without cost. You can make searches of people in your area and read what they are looking for.

You get a lot more, though, than that offered by personals at Craigslist. You get real people, no internet marketers trying to con you; you get to see who is online and who is offline; you get to contact people with instant messages; you get to add them as friends and view their photo albums.

So, all in all, they represent a much better alternative. They offer far more features, many of them offer free accounts, and when you get an email from a woman you know that she’s real, and not some clever con artist!

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Online Shopping for housewarming and weddings in Lebanon and Middle East Where does it stand today?

Why is Lebanese e-commerce so dormant?

The retail sector has evolved drastically over the past decade. Buyers are no longer limited by the physical presence of inventory, nor are they forced to vent into their overheated cars, get stuck in hours of traffic, only to find out that the overcrowded shopping center has run out of their favorite item.

E-commerce has allowed users to purchase anything they would like with the click of a few buttons and a couple of days of delivery time. Lebanon, with its increasing internet and credit card penetration, as well as its tech-savvy and trendy shoppers should be one of the region's first e-commerce adopters! Neverheless, Lebanon still relies very heavy on bricks-and-mortar shopping, while online shopping is only given a second (third, fourth, or fifth) thought! So why has e-commerce in Lebanon and the Middle East lagged behind the rest of the world? Below are the three major reasons why Lebanese e-commerce has been struggling to catch up:

1. Lack of viable payment portals:

The country has two reliably out-dated payment portals that do not integrate with the websites. As such, customers are directed to external links and forced to re-enter their credit card data for every purchase. This is highly impractical and reduces the ease of second purchases.

In addition to the out-dated nature of the payment portals, they command a monopoly on the market and charge exorbitant fees: $ 350- $ 500 initiation fee, 3.5-4.0% transaction fees, as well as $ 35- $ 50 / month "maintenance" costs .

Furthermore, the lack of Paypal and other online payment portals in Lebanon creates an incentive challenge for e-commerce businesses.

"Ease of payment" is ranked as one of the highest conversion factors for e-commerce businesses. Lebanon provides dismal options, and then online businesses struggle to provide dynamic options such as one-click purchasing and Paypal.

2- Lack of practical online shopping:

Most new e-commerce businesses in the Middle East have been set up to cater to the "trendy" and "hip" crowd. They offer flash sales of highly priced designer items, indexing of exclusive local boutique designers, or niche gift items that cater to niche consumers. Furthermore, the "old guard" of e-commerce in Lebanon provide the typical online gift selections flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, and other "one-off" emotional gifts.

With the exception of very few sites, most Lebanese websites have a very basic design with little attention to practicality and detail. Menus pop-up in impractical ways, data entry is challenging, and most products are not searchable.

Examples of these "old-guard" websites are:

Exotica flowers: This site charges high shipping costs, overcharges for its bouquets, and tends to deliver smaller and cheaper bouquets than it promises online (it's happened to me on multiple occasions!). Furthermore, they only deliver flowers! They are one of the highest ranking e-commerce sites in Lebanon at 1.3M globally (www.alexa.com). They also take credit for adopting the online delivery system early, although they have not felt the need to improve due to lack of a sizable competitor.

Buy Lebanese: Colors, fonts, sizes, photos, and boxes are not user-friendly. Neverheless, they rank pretty high on Alexa.com: 2.5M globally. This group takes credit for being one of the early adopters of e-commerce in Lebanon! Hat-tip to their foresight!

961 gifts: not sure about the website name, the design looks basic, but menu items are clear. Their product strategy is broadly based on flowers, perfumes, cosmetics, and brandless accessories – 4.2M global ranking

Examples of the newer "niche consumer" sites are:

Lebelik, Eezmeez, Marka VIP

Some of the newer websites have focused on great design and have achieved relative success in the hip and young markets. Nearheless, away from Marka VIP which is based in Dubai, none have managed to truly achieve a sufficiently large market.

3. Purchasing power is in the expat community

Businesses that focus on the local online purchasing power will struggle in the short term. Hopefully this will change as Lebanon progresses ( hopefully) . However, until then, the buying power for Lebanese e-commerce sites will be coming from Lebanon's expat community seeking to provide gifts to their families and loved ones in Lebanon. This creates a rather challenging market for e-commerce businesses. How do you target your Diaspora? Who is your target consumer? Is the market over-fitted with one-time gifts such as chocolates, flowers, and niche designer items?

How to fill the gap

As such we identified the need for the establishment of a practical well-priced website that provides customers practical and quality options for gifts or personal use. The reasons I believe that such a model will overcome the sector's challenges are:

A- The payment portal technology will inevitably improve, along with the market's trust of online payment

B- The market is arranged with one-off gift items that typically fall under the flowers, chocolates, and traditional gift items. Therefore, competition is minimal

C- The market has seen high quality designer boutiques pop up online, but these only cater to a niche market segmentation. Highlighting the fact that the adoption of online purchases is on the rise

D- There is no website that provides practical useful household gifts with high quality branded items

In summary, there is a gap in well-priced high-quality branded items online in the Middle East and Lebanon. There is a gap in websites that provide quality household items such as Riedel, Nambe, Pip Studio, Bodum, Greenpan, Images D'Orient, Voluspa, as well as many other global brands. Rather than sending flowers, chocolates or highly-priced niche products, the consumer would not want to have an online option for:

A- Housewarming gifts to Lebanon

B- Wedding registries in Lebanon

C- Wedding gifts to Lebanon

D- Lebanese gifts that do not involve cheap chinese products, high-priced niche items, or flowers and chocolates!

Thanks!

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