Tag: online

Amazon’s Prime Day boosted sales by 60 per cent

amazonOnline retailer Amazon claims that its “prime day” resulted in a boost of sales of 60 percent worldwide.

Despite early glitches, the retailer said it recorded the largest daily sales for Amazon devices on Tuesday, helped by heavy discounts. The Fire TV Stick was its best-selling device.

Orders rose by more than 50 percent in the United States, Amazon said. Orders placed on the company’s mobile app doubled.

Amazon did not provide total sales figures for the event, which was open only to members of its $99-per-year Prime subscription service.

However it might not have gone as well as Amazon hoped. Analysts noted that the rate of deals selling out was a lot slower than expected, meaning that Amazon was expecting the demand to be higher. However the number were still pretty good.

If orders jumped 60 percent over last year, that could mean sales in excess of $650 million on this year’s Prime Day

Citi analysts had projected up to $1 billion in sales from Prime Day. However, a snag that resulted in some customers being unable to add discounted items to their shopping carts could have affected sales.

Amazon’s potential sales from the event pales in comparison with the more than $14 billion of total value of goods transacted during Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping festival in China in November.

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster said global unit sales growth of more than 60 percent outperformed the brokerage’s estimate of a 37 percent growth.

The sale is also expected to drive shoppers to the Prime service, which offers original TV programming and access to digital entertainment products such as Prime Music and Prime Video, as well as one-hour delivery of purchases.

Benchmark Co analyst Daniel Kurnos said he expects Prime Day to have added over 6 million new Prime members worldwide and to boost year-over-year revenue growth by 300 basis points.

Adobe and PageFair moan about adblocking

StoneWall-1Ad-blocking will lead to almost $22 billion of lost advertising revenue this year, according to a  report put together by Adobe and PageFair.

For those who came in late, PageFair is a Dublin-based start-up that helps companies and advertisers recoup some of this lost revenue.

If the pair’s figures are right, then the use of adblocking software has increased by 41 percent during the last year. Levels of ad-blocking activity now top more than a third of all internet users in some countries, particularly in Europe, the report said.

Gaming, social network and other tech-related websites were most affected by ad-blocking software, the report added.

While companies spend billions of dollars each year on these internet marketing efforts, analysts say people often overlook them while looking at online content.

Campbell Foster, director of product marketing at Adobe, said that what was causing grave concern for broadcasters and advertisers is video advertising, which is some of their most valuable content, is starting to be blocked. Whoopee, Campbell.

Almost 200 million people worldwide now regularly use ad-blocking software, the report said. About 45 million of them are in the United States, with almost 15 percent of people in states like New York and California relying on these services. The figures are even higher in Europe, where 77 million people use versions of the software. In Poland, more than a third of people regularly block online ads.

Recently, the focus on ad-blocking software has turned to mobile devices. Smartphones and other internet-connected devices are driving breakneck internet use, particularly in emerging markets, and the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system will allow people to download some form of ad-blocking software.

Currently, only a small fraction of ad-blocking comes from mobile devices, according to the Adobe/PageFair report. But analysts say developers are working on plug-ins for smartphone Web browsers that will allow people to block advertising on their mobiles and tablets.


Top judge calls for Ebay style courts

courtA top UK judge has called for the creation of civil courts which are held online, citing online auction outfit eBay as a method which could work.

Lord Dyson, the head of civil justice in England and Wales, said the justice system had been slow to take advantage of internet technology, and described proposals for a state-run online court as an “exciting milestone”.

A recent report by the Civil Justice Council said an online system – which would operate for cases involving less than £25,000 – would allow documents to be submitted online for examination, with the option of telephone hearings.

And the group went on to illustrate how eBay dealt with a “remarkable” 60 million disputes between traders every year using an “online dispute resolution” system.

Lord Dyson stressed that the idea was still at an early stage, and said transparency – allowing the public and media access to the proceedings – was still a “really important question” which needed to be sorted out.


Uber wants to dig up dirt on journalists

muckrakers_placque_8_x_5Online taxi outfit Uber has decided that the best way to win the hearts and minds of people is to research into the lives of journalists who write nasty stories about them.

Uber is having problems with countries banning its service and it blames journalists writing nasty stories about them.

Now  a senior executive at Uber suggested to Buzzfeed  the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media.

Emil Michael is specifically keen to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticised the company.

Michael said he made the comments in a conversation he believed was off the record. In a statement through Uber Monday evening, he said he regretted them and that they didn’t reflect his or the company’s views.

Uber’s relationship with the media and the image of its management team, is not the best.  They have  been cast as insensitive and hyper-aggressive.

Michael, who has been at Uber for more than a year as its senior vice president of business, told of his plans at a dinner party attended by an influential New York crowd including actor Ed Norton and publisher Arianna Huffington. The dinner was hosted by Ian Osborne, a former adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron and consultant to the company.

At the dinner, Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick made the case that he has been miscast as an ideologue and as insensitive to driver and rider complaints, while in fact he has been  building a transformative company.

Michael said talked about spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists to help Uber fight back against the press.  Apparently they would look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.

Michael was particularly focused on Sarah Lacy, the editor of the Silicon Valley website PandoDaily, who recently accused Uber of “sexism and misogyny.” She wrote that she was deleting her Uber app after BuzzFeed News reported that Uber appeared to be working with a French escort service. “I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritize our safety,” she wrote.

Michael was furious and said that women are far more likely to get assaulted by taxi drivers than Uber drivers. He said that he thought Lacy should be held “personally responsible” for any woman who followed her lead in deleting Uber and was then sexually assaulted.

Uber’s dirt-diggers, Michael said, could expose Lacy. They could, in particular, prove a particular and very specific claim about her personal life.

Michael at no point suggested that Uber has actually hired opposition researchers, or that it plans to. He cast it as something that would make sense, that the company would be justified in doing.


Mobiles big it up online

Keep taking the tabletsTablets and smartphones are quickly becoming the platform of choice when it comes to online shopping. According to IMRG Capgemini, mobile accounted for 23.2 percent of online sales last quarter, up 11.6 percent year-on-year. What’s more, the actual proportion of retail site visits coming from mobile was up to 34 percent from 21 percent a year ago.

Click and collect is going strong as well, as it represented 16 percent of online sales, up from 12 percent last year. Bounce rates are also going up, largely as a result of higher mobile penetration.

IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner said there is a correlation between the surge in mobile commerce and the rise in visitor bounce rates on mobile retail sites.

“While consumers [people, Ed.] have generally become more confident in using their mobile devices as a shopping tool, the latest data suggests they have also become more demanding,” Spooner said. “Higher search volumes will inevitably result in an increase in bounce rates as shoppers will often compare products and pricing across several brands.”

Spooner argued that offering an engaging and relevant experience for customers across all channels will help retailers achieve the end goal of higher conversion rates and an increase in customer loyalty.

Capgemini UK VP of consumer products and retail Chris Webster pointed out another interesting trend – record levels of sales via mobile devices correspond to higher rates for click and collect.

“This correlation of mobile ordering and location flexible collection is at the heart of the mobile internet and the impact it will have on consumer behaviour. Maybe we are truly entering the Martini age – anytime, anyplace, anywhere,” he said. Talk about product placement, Webster.

UK will have £1.8bn internet trade surplus

DelThe United Kingdom is expected to end the year with a healthy £1.8 billion internet trade surplus, thanks to British internet retailers who adapted to online faster than their continental counterparts.

In a report called Modern Spice Routes, the Nielsen Company and PayPal worked out that the UK is going to spend £8.5 billion online internationally, but it will also sell £10.3 billion worth of goods and services. There’s more good news, as the figures are expected to reach £18 billion and £24 billion by 2018, generating an impressive surplus of £6.4 billion, reports The Wall Street Journal.

British internet retailers are obviously doing something right, but more importantly the Germans aren’t. Germany is expected to have a €4.7 billion trade deficit this year and the UK should have a positive internet trade balance with Deutschland. German shoppers are expected to buy €1.7 billion in UK goods, while Brits will spend just €619 million on German products.

PayPal Senior Vice President for EMEA & Asia Pacific, Rupert Keeley, said UK retailers have adapted more quickly to international buyers than their German counterparts. He also stressed that China represents a huge opportunity for global traders.

“Once China does crack its customs and import challenges, and they get through the logistical issues, it will become a huge market, particularly for British goods,” he said.

However, we have a Eurozone caveat of our own. There is a very good reason Germans are flocking to British shops and it’s not the nice lass behind the virtual counter – it’s the euro. The pound has lost quite a bit of ground over the past five years, making many products in Britain significantly cheaper than on the continent, even with VAT and shipping. This was not the case five years ago and for British retailers to do well across the Channel, the pound needs to stay weak.

Ctrack pushes European markets

Shane_TrackingOnline vehicle tracking outfit Ctrack is expanding its European operations and appointed a new manager to drive the push.

Richard Lane has been named as the company’s new European distribution & partnerships manager.

Ctrack currently has distribution operations in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain and Portugal to complement its owned operations in Germany, France and Benelux.

The new management role requires Lane to find suitable partners in countries where Ctrack currently does not have a presence.

In a statement, the company said it is is keen to take advantage of untapped vertical markets such as insurance telematics.

Lane was previously responsible for channel sales within the UK & Ireland. He joined Ctrack having spent four years at Cybit, and subsequently Masternaut, responsible for developing and managing its reseller programme.

John Wisdom, European managing director of Ctrack, commented said that Lane had been responsible for extending the reach of the business within the UK by establishing an effective partner and reseller network.

“We are looking to use his proven expertise to take advantage of opportunities that exist in new European markets to maximise the growth of the business across the region,” he said.


UK reports online fraud increase

kcalmOnline fraud is on the increase, providing a windfall for security firms trying to pitch packages to cash strapped businesses.

The latest figures from the National Fraud Authority show that account takeover fraud rose by 53 percent compared with the previous year.

This means that those frauds where the criminal requires identity details accounted for almost two thirds of all frauds recorded by CIFAS in 2012.
More than 8.8 percent of UK adults were a victim of this fraud and those who lost cash tended to lose an average of £1,203 each.

Stephen Harrison, National Fraud Authority Chief Executive estimated that this year’s AFI has put the loss to the UK economy from fraud at £52 billion.

He said that private sector businesses suffer the highest levels of loss and can also suffer other impacts like reputational damage. Loss to smaller businesses can even put their future at risk.

Trusteer, which makes products for cybercrime prevention, said it has seen an increase in the number of Man in The Browser (MiTB) malware activity, and in the sophistication and techniques cybercriminals use to steal credentials and credit card data.

A Trusteer spokesperson said that as infection rates increase, account takeover fraud, and account fraud, is becoming a top threat for organisations.

This is not just a matter of providing companies with software or hardware to fix.

Companies need to come up with a holistic approach which encompasses endpoint security as well as clientless detection and conclusive event correlation is required.

This means that security resellers are having to create layered security covering PC and Macs, desktops and mobile, client and client-less solutions.

Mothercare gets fatter

Leon bw article1Mothercare has seen a better than average full year profit.

The baby brand, which in April last year saw tumbling profits, which it blamed on online sales, has reported a pretax profit of £8.3 million for the year to the end of March. This was a rise from the £1.6 million a year earlier.

However, the company also saw UK sales fall 10.8 percent to £499.7 million in the year, while UK like-for-like sales were down 3.6 percent, an improvement on the 6.2 percent decline a year earlier.

Last year the company made moves to try and fix the brand, putting in place a three year plan and hiring ex Amazon “guru” Simon Calver as its new head honcho. At the time it slashed 56 UK stores in the year to the end of March, ahead of its target of 50 closures.

However, it seems the company could also be riding high off the back of the baby boom. Despite being criticised last year by mums as being “pricey” and “outdated”, it seems some are being coaxed back.

“Mothercare is offering better prices and cute clothing recently,” one mum told ChannelEye, while another pointed out staff had become “better” trained.

“It seems they are a lot more knowledgeable now,” she told ChannelEye. “I went in asking about buggies and had a full hour demo of all the ones suitable.”

And it also seems the brand’s line of maternity clothing is also making a stance with the company offering reasonably priced style.

According to the founder of maternity fashion website – that’s me by the way –  Does My Bump Look Good in This? the trend of wearing stylish maternity clothes has grown.

“With high profile celebrities, namely Kate Middleton, showing off their bumps in stylish clothing, regular mums-to-be are taking more notice of what the maternity fashion world has to offer,” Andrea-Marie Rankine said.

“It’s no longer about floaty blouses or dresses.

“Mothercare offers average priced on-trend  maternity clothing, which appeals to women in all demographics. In most stores they are placed strategically next to new baby products, which is a perfect pitch for mums-to-be,” Rankine continued.

Morrisons gets into online food

smartphone-shoppingMorrisons has bitten the bullet and announced that it will be going head- to-head with its supermarket rivals in the online food space.

The supermarket giant, which posted its first drop in profits for six years has said it aims to offer this service by January next year and is reportedly in talks with Ocado to help it begin conquering the online food shopping space.

The giant saw its pretax profit drop to £901 million in February this year compared to the £935 million made in 2011.

It said that in a bid to grow over the next year it had implemented a range of measures to ensure this happened. It described its moves into online as an “important step.”

Supermarkets are doing all they currently can to bring customers through the door. This month Tesco announced a range of plans to help it get ahead of its competitors offering price promises and claims that it was buying eatery Giraffe to attract a different range of consumers.

Morrisons has also not rested on its laurels recently also announcing that it was building up its army of 12 convenience stores, and snapping up  62 sites from the administrators of Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster.

John Lewis culls managers to focus on online

axeJohn Lewis has become the latest company to wield the axe, announcing that it will be slashing 325 department manager jobs in a bid to focus more on its online growth.

The company, which was hailed by the government as a model of “responsible capitalism” for the whole economy, has made the decision to chop these jobs as it moves to focus on it its online offerings.

It has set up its Retail Revolution’ plan in a bid to ensure it stays ahead of the game and doesn’t end up in the same black administration hole as some of its competitors.

However, this won’t be any consolation to the staff who are set to lose their jobs, in the biggest cut made by the retailer since 2009 when it culled 700 call staff jobs.

Each John Lewis has about 10 department store managers looking after sections such as womenswear, beauty or furnishings. In a bid to cut costs John Lewis is planning to replace these with one or two more senior managers in 28 of its 40 stores.

They have given those in question a month to put their views and proposals forward as to why they should remain at the company before a  90-day constitution in March.

Last month the company hinted that online was where it wanted to be, appointing Mark Lewis as online director. It said at the time it hoped that Mark, who had previously been CEO at Collect+ and spent six years at eBay in roles including UK managing director and European marketplaces director, would continue the growth and development of its online business.