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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Bank Holiday Bargain: Win An Exclusive £250 Experience Day Voucher With Parcel2Go!

It’s the month of April, which can only mean two things – and that is two UK Bank Holidays!

Thankfully the UK is treated to double the time off, and to celebrate the long Easter weekend, we’ve partnered with the UK’s leading gift experience provider, Red Letter Days – where we’ll be treating one lucky winner to a fantastic experience day voucher worth an incredible £250.

That’s right, you could be having the experience day of a lifetime on either one of these four important Bank Holiday dates:

  • Friday 18th April
  • Monday 21st April
  • Monday 5th May
  • Monday 26th May

To get your hands on this amazing prize, simply send a parcel on or before any of these dates – it really is that easy!

Whether it’s indulging in a Champneys massage and facial pampering session in the scenic location of Tunbridge Wells or an adrenaline-fuelled circuit driving experience at Brands Hatch, there’s something for everyone; but you’ll have to be quick, as the competition ends on Sunday 13rd April 2014.

Meanwhile on Facebook, we’re giving fans the chance to win a state-of-the-art Samsung digital camera! Just head to our Facebook page, ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ our competition post then answer our riddle – and remember, you only have until Thursday 10th April, where the winners will be announced on Friday 11th April.

Best of luck!

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UK Consumers Reject Amazon’s ‘Anticipatory Shipping’


More than half of UK shoppers would be unhappy with retailers taking it upon themselves to anticipate their customers’ needs, according to a recent study noted by digital commerce solutions provider Venda.

A survey of 2,052 adults, conducted by YouGov, reported that over half of the respondents admitted to being disgruntled with the idea of businesses assuming they wanted products they hadn’t ordered – while 37 per cent feel that the concept of ‘anticipatory shipping’ would be an invasion of privacy for an organisation to roll out such a service.

Around 40 per cent would not accept or retain goods sent in anticipation of their needs or requirements.

Group CEO of Venda, Eric Abensur, said: “Although we are yet to see exactly how anticipatory shipping will be employed, if Amazon starts sending goods to customers without their consent, they risk alienating the vast majority of shoppers. Privacy is still a huge issue for consumers, and from their perspective, the idea of having every move they make put under the microscope can be disconcerting.

“Amazon and other retailers need to tread the fine line between offering customers a personalised online service, while cutting down fulfilment times, but at the same time, they need to reassure consumers that their data is safe and not being misused for revenue generating activities.”

However, there was some demand for anticipatory shipping – with 12 per cent of UK consumers stating that they would keep goods they had received but not ordered, so long as it was a product they had intended to purchase.

Abensur added: “Given that pace and cost of delivery is a prevalent concern for online shoppers, it’s not surprising that Amazon are looking at new innovative strategies to solve this issue. However, fulfilment is something other online retailers should also put at the heart of their eCommerce strategy this year – as without a fast and efficient way to get products to consumers they could end up losing revenue.”

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Amazon Student Programme Launches In The UK


University students across the UK can now get their hands on even more discounts, after Amazon rolled out its Student Programme on March 31.

In order to be eligible for the scheme, all that’s needed is your email address, expected date of graduation along with academic level and chosen course. Following your approval, you’ll then be entitled to free one-day delivery for more than seven million items available on the Amazon site – plus discounted prices for Express and evening deliveries for the first six months.

After the six month trial period, students can resume with the service by paying £39 a year – also granting them access to unlimited instant streaming on Prime Instant Video as well as access to one Kindle book to borrow each month; with a choice of over 500,000 titles from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Additionally, students will also receive a further 20 per cent on the trade-in value of any used books via the Amazon Trade-In scheme until June 30.

“Students currently at University, or those heading there this year, are the internet generation – accustomed to conducting their lives online, via their phone, tablet or PC,” explained Xavier Garambois, Amazon’s vice president of EU Retail.

“Our student customers tell us that they want to save time and money when shopping and this programme has been designed to achieve that goal.”

However, for those without a email address, students can still participate in the programme – they simply need a proof of student status letter, an invoice for their current term, a tuition bill or official acceptance documentation for the upcoming term.

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Six ‘Premium’ Twigs Go On Sale On eBay


From a flooded out car to second-hand celebrity clothing, when it comes to selling items on eBay – practically anything goes; especially if it’s a set of six twigs from London’s De Beauvoir Square.

A listing offering six twigs – each with a “unique personality” – are up for grabs on eBay, with the seller Whackychop giving bidders until Thursday, April 3, to get their hands on these premium sprigs.

With a starting bid of 99p, at the time of writing the twigs are going for an impressive £62 – with Whackychop describing the listing as: “I have a set of six travel-size twigs, each with a unique personality.”

Babak Ganjei, going by the eBay username Whackychop, goes on to say: “It should be noted these twigs come from De Beauvoir Square, a part of London where a room in a shared house costs a minimum of £600 a month excluding bills, and a sandwich starts at £4.20.”

He then concludes that this makes the shoots “premium and not everyday rubbish”.

Hackney-based seller Ganjei also lists a variety of tongue-in-cheek items, such as Fresh Prince of Bel Air lyrics (with bids currently at £10.70) handwritten by him, as well as a voucher for a “a five year guarantee” (also handwritten).

So for any forestry fans looking to bag a ‘bargain’, you have until Thursday at 16:29:12 to be the new owner of a set of unique twigs.

Now, you may be forgiven for thinking that with today being April Fool’s Day, we’ll have all sorts of joke news stories for you – but we absolutely guarantee that this story is 100% true!

Happy bidding!

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Italy’s Prime Minister Sells Unneeded Government Cars On eBay


In a bid to cut costs and appease the public’s calls to end extravagant demands made by those in power, the government of Italy’s new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is auctioning off its fleet of executive cars on eBay.

Pledging to sell a total of 151 vehicles by 16 April, Renzi admitted to lending inspiration from his time as the former mayor of Florence; where he auctioned off four cars earlier in his term.

Just hours after the first cars were listed on the online auction marketplace, a 2009 BMW 525 with 87,714 miles on the clock was going for 13,050 euros (£10,796), while a 2007 Alfa Romeo 166 clocking in with 78,739 miles was fetching for 6,150 euros (£5,088).

With each of the cars previously owned by the Ministry of Interior, the government has plans to auction off a further 25 cars from different ministries – but will be placing stringent limits on how many government cars will remain in active service.

However, while the new move is unlikely to make much of a difference in Italy’s 2 trillion euro debt, the auction is being seen by many as a highly symbolic gesture on the part of the new Prime Minister.

Italy’s political figures have been regularly lambasted for their luxurious demands during a time of economic hardship, but following Renzi’s new position, he has high hopes to change the public’s perception with the promise of tax cuts, reforms as well as a less indulgent lifestyle.

High-end transport is commonly seen as a status symbol for government officials, with many cars often seen speeding with disregard for stop signs and other traffic regulations.

Yet Renzi is not the only public figure to move away from such ostentatious displays – for example, Pope Francis has replaced the papal Mercedes limousine with a Ford Focus.

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Ed Sheeran Clothing To Be Sold Via eBay By Charity Suffolk Family Carers


Look like a celebrity! Or at least buy celebrity clothing second-hand online, courtesy of eBay. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran tweeted on Sunday that he had given away his “whole wardrobe [to] a bunch of charity shops” in Suffolk – with two shops receiving his garments in his home town of Framlingham while another shop in Ipswich found itself the new owner of Sheeran’s discarded clothing.

Additionally, Suffolk Family Carers got given around 15 items of clothing – and now plans to sell them on eBay in May.

“It will give fans from around the world a chance to get them,” explained Anna Haley, from the charity.

Among the clothes up for sale include hoodies and t-shirts featuring Ed Sheeran’s distinctive paw-print logo.

Fundraising alongside BBC Radio Suffolk for a new mobile carers centre, Haley said that the charity had been working with Sheeran’s mother Imogen, a jewellery designer.

She said: “His mum has designed a bangle for us, so he’s heard about the campaign from her.

“We are so happy that Ed Sheeran wants to help our charity raise vital funds and this is the perfect way. We expect the online auction of his clothes in early May to cause quite a storm.”

Sue Ryder is due to sell Sheeran’s items in Framlingham on 18 April, while St Elizabeth Hospice is still debating how it intends to sell the clothing.

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), whom Sheeran is currently an ambassador for, has said that it plans to host an online auction but also wishes to save some of the items to sell off at its new charity shop, due to open in Framlingham in May.

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PayPal App Now Lets UK Customers ‘Order Ahead’ And ‘Pay At Table’


Developments at PayPal’s headquarters have been extremely interesting of late, following news that their UK smartphone app has been updated to offer shoppers ‘Order Ahead’ and ‘Pay at Table’ services.

Launched in the US last September, Order Ahead and Pay at Table allows customers to place their order ahead of their visit as well as pay for their food through their phone respectively – without the need for  NFC technology.

Now available throughout more than 2,000 restaurants and high street stores across the UK, industry experts predict PayPal’s latest move to be the biggest ever boost for mobile payments in the UK high street sector.

Head of retail services at PayPal UK, Rob Harper, said: “PayPal has built the biggest network of high street stores and restaurants that let their customers pay with the one thing they always take with them: their smartphone. It’s the beginning of the end for the wallet on the high street.

“The smartphone has changed our lives, and we wanted to use it to solve some of the most common frustrations about traditional ways to pay on the high street. Our new Order Ahead and Pay at Table services save busy people valuable time. Why wait for the bill when you can pay at the table with your smartphone? And why wait in a restaurant for your takeaway when you can skip the queue by choosing and ordering ahead on your phone? We found in a recent survey that 76 per cent of Britons dislike having to wait in long queues. The mobile is at the heart of the new age of money, and we’re delighted to join big brands like GBK, Prezzo and wagamama to make life easier for people.”

To take advantage of the new features, simply download it from the App Store or Google Play – and as part of the celebration of PayPal’s new services, GBK and Prezzo will be offering exclusive deals for customers paying via PayPal’s app.

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Apple Ramps Up Online Retail Efforts By Recruiting Former Delta VP


A new hire has been celebrated by Apple, after the software giant named Bob Kupbens as the company’s new Vice President of Online Retail.

According to his LinkedIn page, his job title now reads as ‘VP, Apple Online Retail’. Previously working for Delta as Vice President of Marketing, he was responsible for bolstering the airline’s marketing and digital commerce strategies where prior to this role, spearheaded the e-commerce movement at retail powerhouse, Target.

Moving to one of the world’s most renowned brands will sit well with Kupbens, after his notable talk on the significance of “love brands” at the 2013 Ad Age Digital Conference – where he explained how consumers can only really love five brands (and jokingly compared customer loyalty between retailers and airlines).

“I used to work at Target and when you went to a cocktail party and you told people that you worked at Target, you know what they’d say?” Kupbens asked.

“’I love Target! I’ll give you a big hug!’ You know what people say when you tell them at a cocktail party that you work at Delta? ‘I hate you! You lost my bag! You had me on the tarmac for seven hours. I’m going to kill you!’ It’s different when you work for a love brand.”

His new role will see Kupbens report to former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who was appointed in October by Apple as senior VP-sales and online retail – a position created by Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook.

Neither Apple nor Delta Air Lines have so far commented on the developments by Mr Kupbens.

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