eBay Sees Listing Of First Ever Beano Comic Book


For an Easter extravaganza comic book fans won’t forget, they’d best head to eBay; as the first-ever issue of The Beano is up for grabs – with a starting bid of £3,499.99.

The listing of this iconic British comic strip is extremely rare, as this is one of only 25 known to be in existence since being published on 30th July 1938; costing just 2p.

Not far off its 76th birthday, the sighting of The Beano celebrates the first time Lord Snooty and his friends arrived on the comic book scene.

Comprising 28 pages, the publication showcases a colourful front cover along with a “Whoopee Mask” – but sadly, isn’t in quite as good a condition as the comic.

While it initially went on sale for just 2p, the comic is now listed at a starting bid of £3,499.99 – which is marginally less than a previous listing, fetching £12,000 back in 2004.

Owner of online auctioneer Phil Comic, Phil Shrimpton, explained: “We are delighted to offer what is arguably, the most sought after British comic amongst collectors.

“Hundreds of other British comic titles have been published in the last 76 years but, sadly, none have stood the test of time like The Beano.

“Few British adults can claim not to have read at least one copy of the comic in their time.”

The very first issue was a huge success, selling a staggering 443,963 copies – yet just 25 are known to have survived.

This children’s classic is the world’s longest running comic, and has been published each week for the past 76 years. The most recent comic, issue 3,729, was published on 9th April 2014.


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Debenhams To Revamp Online Delivery Service


Debenhams is to give its online delivery offering a complete revamp as part of its efforts to recoup its losses following a poor Christmas, resulting in a decline in half-year profits.

With 150 UK stores to its name, Debenhams is exploring the option of reducing their delivery times within its online services – as well as feature several high-profile brands in its outlets.

Yesterday the retailer announced: “Promotions are a traditional strength of Debenhams but in the run-up to Christmas their impact was diluted by the highly promotional trading environment in the UK.

“We are therefore refocusing our promotional strategy which will see more clearly defined promotional periods in the trading calendar with fewer days on promotion.”

The department store chain explained that their reason for trailing behind their competitors was down to convenience; due to them not providing a wider choice of express delivery rates.

Debenhams has since vowed to better its services in time for Christmas, with plans to introduce a next-day click-and-collect option along with a 10pm cut-off for next-day delivery – meaning continued investment across its distribution centres.

The organisation, which saw new shops open in Leamington Spa and Haverfordwest in October 2013, stated that analysis of all its stores showed that 10 per cent of its UK shop space was currently performing below par.

The company said: “We continue to work on a number of routes to improve sales densities. These include adding more choice of products, brands and services.

“We are currently in discussions with a number of well-known brands, some of which are expected to be trialled over the next six months.”

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UK Spends More Than £23bn At Start Of 2014 For Online Shopping


Brits spent a total of £23.1bn shopping online in the first three months of 2014, contributing to the increasing success amongst retailers as UK businesses continue to make a strong financial recovery.

This accounts for a 17 per cent rise over the year, making it the strongest yearly growth rate for the first quarter in three years – according to industry body IMRG and consultancy experts Capgemini, as noted in their e-retail sales index.

Smartphone and tablet ownership in the UK is enjoying a steady increase, with the majority of its users opting to shop online from the comfort of their own home as opposed to visiting brick-and-mortar stores. And due to this consumer behaviour, has resulted in sales from mobile devices shooting up 53 per cent over 2014 in March.

“This month’s index is a good indicator of the current strength of the UK economy,” explained Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini.

“It is interesting to see that spending over the last three months was not limited to just one sector or the result of one particular influence.

“Rather, Britons are in good spirits, have regained confidence in the economy and using online as a means to spend across the board.”

It appears that shoppers are regaining confidence within the UK economy as the financial climate bounces back, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting UK GDP to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2014; the fastest rate out of any Western economy.

Meanwhile, the average conversion rate (those who begin to shop online and finally complete a transaction) reached a five year high of 4.2 per cent.

“With online transaction values reaching the highest level recorded in six months, and the average conversion rate for March at pre-recession levels, these results not only demonstrate an overall increase in consumer confidence, but also that online shopping is becoming a larger part of our everyday lives,” stated Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG.

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Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Elsa Dresses Sell For $1,000 On eBay


The box office phenomenon of ‘Frozen’ has become a worldwide smash hit – in terms of both its real-life popularity, as well as its online success.

With this being Disney’s highest-grossing animated film of all time, this has resulted in fans the world over buying Frozen merchandise; however, following Queen Elsa’s signature dress being sold out in stores throughout the States, has led to parents resorting to eBay – where a limited-edition version of the dress originally costing $149.95 can be purchased for a staggering $1,000.

“Every mum in the world is dying for this dress,” explained Ms Costello, a marketing consultant whose 4-year-old is obsessed with the film. “The lucky mums who have found this dress for their daughters brag about their success and unanimously proclaim how their kid can’t stop wearing it.”

Meanwhile, a cheaper alternative created by toy maker Jakks Pacific initially retailing for $20, is now selling on the online auction marketplace for anywhere between $150 right up to $350.

Yet it’s not just Elsa that’s captivating fans – Disney’s limited-edition dolls of Elsa and her sister, costing $9.95 each, sold out within just 45 minutes after being stocked on disneystore.com back in January.

Bids on eBay for the limited-edition character toy dolls are fetching from a few hundred dollars to more than $3,000.

The official Disney Frozen storybook app is outperforming other apps in the children’s category in over 100 countries, while Disney’s book “Frozen”, based on the film, has become a New York Times bestseller.

“Frozen is a global phenomenon that has truly exceeded our expectations on every level,” said Margita Thompson, Disney spokeswoman. “We’re thrilled that audiences formed an instant connect with the characters.”


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Report Shows 55 Per Cent Of European Shoppers Still Not Purchasing Online


While a quarter of shoppers in Europe take to the web when researching products or visiting retail sites, 55 per cent still don’t frequently make purchases through their PC, smartphone or any other digital platform – notes a recent study by Forrester.

The report suggests that regular ‘digital holdouts’ – those refusing to use digital channels to carry out purchases on any of the platforms on a regular basis – outnumber all other customers. The more conventional online users make up 26 per cent of the user base, online researchers at 25 per cent, handheld device users at 4 per cent and the ‘super shoppers’, who regularly use these channels, at 15 per cent. For those who do absolutely no digital shopping, 30 per cent.

But what exactly can retailers do to remedy this situation? Forrester believes that the solution lies in engaging with those who use the online platforms to research products, but to then try and convert these users into prospective digital shoppers – however, the research found that there is no one ‘pan-European’ solution as every country has its own shopping habits.

“eBusiness professionals must understand key nuances in shopping behavior across European markets to create the most relevant shopping experience for their target consumers,” explains the report’s author, Michelle Beeson.

“For instance, Sweden has the most ‘Holdouts’ and ‘Researchers’ of the seven European markets considered in this report, despite being a digitally engaged nation,” she adds. “The UK continues to have the greatest proportion of ‘Traditional Web Shoppers’. Yet Italian shoppers are edging ahead of other European markets when it comes to researching and buying across multiple devices as ‘Super-Shoppers’.”

As a result, it is these ‘Super Shoppers’ that are being targeted by retailers in a bid to drive sales, given that they are visiting stores through every available opportunity.

“Growth of the Super-Shopper segment is more apparent in other global markets than in Europe,” says Beeson. “In the US, Super-Shoppers account for over one quarter of the segmentation versus 15% across Europe.”

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eBay Alters Fee Structure For UK Users


Private eBay sellers in the UK will see a change to their fee structure, after the online auction marketplace recently announced “A good surprise for private sellers on eBay.co.uk”.

While eBay has been keen to promote the fact that they are now offering private sellers 20 additional free listings each month, the company has been less than vocal about their decision to remove the 100 free auction listings it had allocated users for items with a starting bid of less than a pound.

The announcement has brought about mixed reactions, with one seller noting in a forum: “eBay, truly the only company on the planet that tries to make negative announcements look positive lol.” On the plus side, sellers who don’t list auctions or end up listing items costing a pound or higher instantly receive 20 extra free listings per month; while those who list items at bargain rates lose out on 80 free listings a month.

Additionally, eBay UK is revising the insertion fees for listing bids after the first 20 free listings – with the price changed to 35 pence per listing.

Despite eBay’s attempts to move towards a much more simplified fee system, sellers are quick to point out that simple isn’t always more affordable – with one seller stating: “who will want to list something for 99p when you have to pay 35p to list it, doesn’t make sense”. However, one advocate said: “I think it is a good thing. It means that I won’t have to wait for a free listing weekend and then, if I don’t feel too good, not be able to list. I can list up to 20 items at the start price I want, using the format I want over the course of a month and I think that is really generous all things considered.”

The new pricing structure is set to come into effect on May 13 2013 but for more information, users can visit the eBay UK announcement board

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UK Advertisers Spent £6.3 Billion On Mobile And Online Shoppers In 2013


UK retailers and advertising firms spent a staggering £6.3bn last year targeting shoppers who use the web via a number of mobile devices, statistics have shown. Over £1bn of this total was aimed at consumers who rely on a handheld device when going online, as found by the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) Digital Adspend report.

According to the figures more than one in four British shoppers are in possession of a tablet computer; with ownership of such devices increasing by 63 per cent to 17.9 million Brits in February this year in stark contrast to 2013, when 11 million people owned them.

Considering that more than a third (36 per cent) of users surf the web using a tablet while two-thirds of people online now access the web using a PC/laptop as well as one other device (such as a tablet or smartphone), it comes as no surprise that mobile ad spend nearly doubled last year – reaching the £1 billion milestone.

“Digital advertising continues to grow at impressive rates simply because marketers are becoming more responsive and savvy to the increasing ways people consume content across different devices,” explained Tim Elkington, director of research and strategy at the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau.

“However, there’s still a lot of work for the industry to do when it comes to tablet advertising. Spend on ads designed specifically for tablets is growing fast but it’s still a very small part of the pie – despite the increase in tablet ownership, and the crucial role they play in people’s internet use at home. The tablet has moved from the offices of early adopters to the nation’s living rooms and advertisers should be following suit.”

“Mobile’s huge rise is down to advertisers taking advantage of key developments in the way people use their mobile devices – particularly social media platforms,” stated Dan Bunyan, manager at PwC.

“Mobile is now more of a story-telling tool for advertisers rather than just an information device. Almost half of mobile ad spend is accounted for by TVs biggest advertiser categories – consumer goods and entertainment brands – which is testament to how important mobile has become for brands.”

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New Study Finds Customers ‘Uninspired’ By Online Shopping


Research has shown that 67 per cent of consumers prefer to shop online as they find the experience efficient and fun, however, many respondents admit to being uninspired by their current shopping experiences.

According to a recent joint survey between Compare Metrics and Retail TouchPoints, 21 of the study’s respondents conduct 50 to 75 per cent of their shopping online – while 11 of those undertake 25 to 50 per cent online.

When asked to rate their discovery experiences on the popular retail sites, the general consensus was an average of six out of 10. Over half (52 per cent) believed that the majority of existing sites have become overwhelming as a result of several contributing factors, from containing irrelevant product details to comprising content that detracts from visual aids.

“The shoppers do want more but they don’t want it all shoved at them at one time,” explained VP of marketing at Compare Metrics, Lisa Roberts. “For us, it feels like [shoppers] wanted this mix of simplicity with inspiration.”

Approximately three-quarters (73 per cent) are worried about the fear of missing out (FOMO) when looking for products online. These shoppers feel that their searches are misconstrued while “absolute” filters eliminate product choices they otherwise would have considered.

“That was a massive ‘aha moment’ for us,” added Ms Roberts. “It really was shoppers not trusting their search results and truly being afraid to select a certain filter.”

In conclusion, the study addresses three areas of improvement for the online shopping experience:

  • Produce and update unique product content;
  • Simplify the process by substituting custom default filters for standard features;
  • Allow shoppers to identify the choice of filters they prefer to use, without constraining product options.
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Amazon Dash Lets Consumers Shop Direct From Their Kitchen


Do you need a device that allows you to scan the items in your food cupboard instead of having to search for them online? Of course you do! Digital ladies and gentlemen, Amazon is pleased to offer the online shopping community their newest release – the Amazon Dash.

Launched on Friday, the device lets users add groceries and households goods to their shopping lists via the AmazonFresh feature; simply by scanning barcodes or saying out loud the name of the product.

Roughly the same size as a TV remote, Amazon’s nifty magic wand is hoping to make a big impact amongst online shoppers – as well as bring about a huge boost across the supermarket sector.

Yet while the service is only running in Seattle and certain parts of California, tech bloggers are already hailing the arrival of Amazon’s latest gadget; excited at the prospect that this service can even have products delivered straight to your door as soon as the next day.

The setup process is straightforward – the Dash connects to the internet via a home’s Wi-Fi network, and once the items have made it onto the shopping list they can then be reviewed online (or through a dedicated smartphone app) prior to making the final purchase.

However, Amazon Dash is available for free by invitation only; with only a limited number of shoppers granted access to this service.

As part of the company’s expansion into the grocery industry, this move marks the company’s continued efforts of AmazonFresh – with hopes to improve the online shopping experience from the everyday needs right through to specialty purchases.

“AmazonFresh is a food and essentials service that only works in a limited set of areas at the moment, delivering fresh goods to users homes. Amazon Dash is a tool users – apparently – carry around and speak to when they remember what they need,” explained the company.

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Ed Sheeran Clothes Total Over £1,000 Within First 12 Hours Of Being Listed On eBay


Following the news that Suffolk sensation Ed Sheeran had donated his clothes to charity, the singer’s garments fetched 185 bids totalling more than £1,000 in just 12 hours of them being listed on eBay.

The A-team hitmaker posted a tweet last week that he had given away his “whole wardrobe [to] a bunch of charity shops”, with the East Anglian Children’s Hospices beginning their 10 day auction of seven of the songwriter’s items of clothing on Monday evening.

To date, a black top bearing Sheeran’s infamous paw print logo listed by the charity has attracted 28 bids reaching £102 – with just under a week to go until bidding ends.

However, the garment that’s proving the people’s favourite is a red Orvis sweatshirt featuring a cats design; amounting to £561 after 70 bids.

The auction is set to end at 8pm on April 10.

Sheeran spent his childhood in Framlingham, with his family delivering bags filled with hundreds of items to charities within the area last week.

EACH confirmed that several other items would be auctioned online in the near future, while it would be keeping some of the clothes for its new charity shop due to open in May.

Meanwhile, St Elizabeth Hospice said that its items put on sale on Friday included garments “worn with Taylor Swift”.

Shop manager Rachail Pollard explained that there had been “a lot of interest in Suffolk and worldwide”.

“We have tried to ensure all those interested are catered for,” she said.

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