Online Shopping and Bargain Business To Overtake Supermarkets By April 2019

Rivals 'reduce Tesco market share'

Sales from discount retailers, convenience shops and online businesses will surpass hypermarkets and supermarkets by April 2019, according to data compiled by global food and consumer goods group, IGD.

The ‘big four’ supermarkets – comprised by Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – will experience a drop in sales by four per cent; from this year’s £73.7bn to £70.8bn over the next five years compared to sales from bargain businesses (such as Lidl and Aldi) who are expected to make double over the same period. IGD has predicted that by 2019, discount shops will enjoy a 10.5 per cent share of the food market.

In addition, online sales will increase by 119 per cent while convenience shop sales will rise by a third.

This is reflected in research collated by customer science organisation, dunnhumby, after the body found that the number of shopping trips people made rose 18 per cent over the past five years as consumers discard the idea of doing one big ‘weekly shop’ and instead choose to make frequent, small basket purchases.

“People are now more willing to shop around at different types of grocery formats, such as convenience stores, discounters or buying online. They have more options available to them than ever before,” explained Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD.

“Shoppers now expect grocery retailing to organise itself around their lives rather than building their routines around store opening hours. They expect to buy whatever they want, anytime, anyplace, in the most convenient way to them.”

Denney-Finch said that a “rethink” was needed on how supermarket space is utilised – as well as investing more heavily into the shopping experience, namely through the use of technology.

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eBay Issues Lifetime Ban For Artist Who Sold Fake Paintings

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An eBay user who sold artwork on the online auction marketplace, allegedly claiming them as authentic masterpieces by artists such as Mary Fedden and LS Lowry, has been given a lifetime ban by the site.

Geoffrey Spilman, from Rugby, Warwickshire, had been selling hundreds of fake paintings via eBay over the past two years – despite being arrested by police 18 months ago as well as being given a caution for forging artwork by Ashley Jackson; after the artist complained to his local fraud team.

During the course of his crime spree, Mr Spilman had auctioned off approximately 280 fake paintings – selling nearly all of them.

One piece of artwork, claimed to have been painted by British artist Mary Fedden, was sold by an eBay seller with the handle ‘walledgarden2013’.

Titled ‘Moonlight Still Life-Dated 1989’, walledgarden2013 detailed the listings as: “This is one of a number of artworks belonging to my late father which I am parting with. I have no receipt or other history and in keeping with the rules of the site I’m selling after the artist.”

This eBay advert was sent by The Sunday Telegraph to the Portland Gallery – the group responsible for looking after the Mary Fedden estate.

However, Mr Spilman told a photographer (working on behalf of The Sunday Telegraph) that he had not undertaken any illegal activity – saying that his artwork was not sold as the artist, but as the manner of the artist.

An eBay representative explained: “We have reviewed three accounts and determined that the seller has not lived up to the high standards we expect.”

eBay’s guidelines state that sellers should ensure their items are genuine before listing them on the site. Should a seller fail to verify the authenticity of an item, eBay cannot approve its listing.

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Mobile Payment Technology Failing To Catch On With UK Businesses

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Small businesses across the UK are failing to adopt mobile point-of-sale (POS) tools even though there is an increasing awareness about the technology, noted a study.

A questionnaire assessing the technology of over a thousand micro-businesses (companies whose workforce ranges from one to nine workers) found that only two per cent used MPOS technology – where instead of using the standard fixed point-of-sale terminal, businesses can accept card payments via smartphones.

Yet while many businesses are aware of this service, a variety of issues contributing to its slow uptake were highlighted, including the duration of both traditional POS and existing MPOS systems to process payments – with one in ten stating that they had missed sales due to not having the specialist payment functionality.

The results, from payment solution firm Kalixa, were released 18 months after iZettle launched the first ever UK MPOS. Kalixa’s pay as you go service – with doesn’t involve a monthly contract or annual fees – charges 1.99 per cent card fees for each transaction: enabling businesses to access and undertake purchases across their settled funds through the use of a prepaid MasterCard.

“Micro-businesses are missing sales and face delayed settlement, with many citing current payment technology as the culprit and mobile as part of the solution. Yet market adoption simply isn’t there,” explained Colin Swain, head of product, innovation and insight at Kalixa Group.

“We listened to what small businesses needed and have launched a unique service proposition that addresses these needs,” he added. “We’re focused on helping to solve the cash flow challenge and provide merchants with an integrated service that takes care of all their payment needs – whether it’s making or accepting payments via mobile, online or on the high street.”

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Amazon To Install Lockers For Online Shoppers In London’s Tube Stations

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After the recent news that Amazon would be working in conjunction with Network Rail as part of the Doddle ‘click-and-collect’ service, the online retailer has announced that it will be trialling a locker scheme in London Underground car parks.

Delivering packages to a network of lockers, it is hoped that this move will simplify logistics – allowing people to collect their items either on their way to or from work.

The plan is for the lockers to be built into car parks at Newbury Park and Finchley Central; adding to the existing 300 UK locations – such as supermarkets and universities – where Amazon currently offers this service.

Following the delivery of your parcel to your allocated Amazon Locker, you’ll receive an  email notification detailing your unique code. Upon arrival to collect your package, input the code or alternatively, scan the barcode via the barcode scanner. Any parcel delivered to Amazon locker sites must be collected within three business days.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London Underground’s click and collect revolution is going from strength to strength, attracting some of the most recognisable names in retail.

“Amazon is a fantastic addition to a cast of top brands who are reaching out to their customers in new ways and enabling TfL to generate vital revenue for improvements to our transport network.”

Commercial development director at Transport for London, Graeme Craig, said: “Our click and collect partnerships have been extremely successful and we look forward to bringing more of the services our customers want to our network.”

He stated that the joint venture with Amazon was only a small part of a much bigger project – with the aim being to generate £3.5bn over the new few years through the use of click and collect solutions, pop-up shops as well as new retailing concepts.

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Amazon Delivery Drones Face Ban From FAA

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Imagine a world where our packages could be delivered to us via Amazon drones – well unfortunately the dream envisioned by the online retailer will have to remain an imagination, after running into a few difficulties regarding the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a document seeking public comment involving drone policy – a “Notice of Interpretation with Request for Comment” – the FAA refers to the act of “delivering packages to people for a fee” a non-hobby or recreation-based drone activity; resulting in the group wanting to ban drones.

This detail is clarified further, stating: “If an individual offers free shipping in association with a purchase or other offer, FAA would construe the shipping to be in furtherance of a business purpose, and thus, the operation would not fall within the statutory requirement of recreation or hobby purpose.”

However, Amazon does not appear to be worried by this move. According to Paul Misener, Vice President of Global Public Policy for Amazon, this “has no effect on our plans. This is about hobbyists and model aircrafts, not Amazon.”

New York lawyer, Brendan Schulman, told tech news site Ars Technica that the new guidelines were designed to prevent drones from being commercially used.

“It’s a purported new legal basis telling people to stop operating model aircraft for business purposes,” he explained.

In the US, determining drone legality is complicated – as according to the FAA, only amateurs and those with specialist FAA approval (something known as a Certificate of Authority) are granted legal permission to fly drones; though this issue has previously faced serious contention.

Until then, Amazon will just have to wait and see what FAA’s ruling will be on the use of commercial drones.

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McDonald’s Trials Smartphone Ordering App

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Want your fast food to be even faster? Then McDonald’s may have the solution – with the company testing out a mobile app that allows customers to place their orders in advance.

Called “McD Ordering,” the app is currently being trialled across 22 locations in Columbus, Georgia.

To use the service, customers simply link their credit or debit card to the app, with the card charged when the customer scans a QR code at a McDonald’s branch. The order number flashes up on the app, the customer proceeds to collect the food – but all without having to queue up and speak with a cashier.

The app details that food can either be collected direct from the counter, or delivered curbside.

While McDonald’s has used these kind of apps abroad previously, this will be the first smartphone ordering and paying app of its kind in the US.

Other businesses – such as Starbucks – have already enlisted the use of mobile payment apps before. More recently, Chick-fil-A and Tim Hortons have joined this initiative.

In addition, McDonald’s currently has an app that’s in trial mode – though this is strictly for coupons and loyalty schemes (plus the “McD App” isn’t being tested in the same location as the McD Ordering app).

A top executive at McDonald’s – who isn’t authorised to speak about the app in public – stated that the company is more interested in improving the customer experience as opposed to encouraging customers to carry out purchases via their mobiles.

The representative added that McDonald’s can benefit from the data collected by the app and use it as constructive feedback. Should the mobile ordering app also integrate coupons, the executive said that the company can see what foods customers order when they redeem coupons – helping McDonald’s create enhanced target ads.

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Amazon To Join Railway Station ‘Click And Collect’ Scheme

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Following the recent news that Network Rail would be launching an innovative online shopping ‘click and collect’ initiative, hot on the heels to join the likes of ASOS and New Look includes Amazon – after it was announced that the retailer had agreed to partner up with Doddle.

A joint venture between Lloyd Dorfman and Network Rail, it’s been reported that Amazon will begin its operations with Doddle in September.

When asked if this service would be of interest to retailers who had yet to launch their own click and collect solutions, Dorfman said Amazon was the “most convincing customer we’ve come to an agreement with”.

In addition, sellers who ship products with Amazon FBA will automatically have their items ready for collection at railway stations – without having to adapt their way of selling. Amazon sellers from France, Germany, the US as well as other locations across the world will also benefit from being able to provide pick up services at train stations.

The pilot scheme is currently underway at Milton Keynes station, with plans to further the operations to 300 click and collect points at British train stations over the next three years – with an expected price tag of around £24 million.

Fran Waite, a spokesman for Amazon in the UK, has not yet commented on this move.

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Network Rail To Open 300 Pick-Up Points At Train Stations For Online Shoppers

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From splurging at a retail outlet to picking up a bargain at a garage sale, there’s plenty of places to go shopping – with one such place being…train stations.

Online shoppers now have the option to collect their packages at their local railway station, after it was announced that a click-and-collect service would be rolled out at hundreds of train stations throughout the UK – courtesy of a joint venture between ASOS, Network Rail and New Look (as well as other leading brands).

Teaming up with Travelex founder, Lloyd Dorfman, the owner of Britain’s rail tracks and stations has invested £24m in the co-owned business, entitled Doddle – in the hopes of creating over 3,000 jobs over the course of the next three years.

Currently, a pilot scheme exists in Milton Keynes; with plans to extend the service to Brighton, Bromley South, Chelmsford, London Cannon Street and London Waterloo before the end of August.

Tim Robinson, chief executive at Doddle, explained: “We offer a premium service with contemporary shops, advanced technology and highly trained staff delivering a dedicated customer experience.

“It is the next major step in online shopping, providing a parcel collection, returns and delivery service that has customer choice and convenience at its very heart. What’s more, we are delivery carrier and retailer agnostic so any brand can offer the Doddle service to their customers.”

Robin Gisby, managing director at Network Rail, said: “More people are travelling by rail than ever before and stations have become more than just a place to wait for or get off a train. We’ve adapted to passenger’s changing needs and now offer quality retail, food and drink at our biggest stations, such as London Waterloo.

“Introducing Doddle to stations will enable us to reinvest our profits back into the railway and is a natural next step to help passengers and people who live and work near stations, whose lives are increasingly busy and on the move.”

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eBay Removes Chinese ‘Spyware’ Smartphones From Listings

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Online auction site eBay has barred the sale of Star smartphones manufactured in a Chinese factory, after reports surfaced that the device had been pre-installed with malware.

Disguised as the authentic Google Play Store app, the Google Android-powered N9500 model monitors phone user behaviour – with the Trojan allowing cybercriminals to remotely control the phone and compromise mobile activity.

“Due to reports that some Star 9500 smartphones are loaded with spyware, eBay is not allowing the sale of these devices as a precautionary measure,” a spokesperson explained.

Despite the little-known Star brand failing to compete with bigger names such as Apple and HTC, its appeal could be down to its appearance being similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4 – along with its sale price going for a third of the cost.

Security agency G Data said the issue had been brought to their attention following tip-offs from its customers.

“The spyware runs in the background and cannot be detected by users,” it stated.

“Unbeknownst to the user, the smartphone sends personal data to a server located in China and is able to covertly install additional applications.

“This makes it possible to retrieve personal data, intercept calls and online banking data, read emails and text messages or control the camera and microphone remotely.

“The program also blocks the installation of security updates.”

It is unknown whether the manufacturers deliberately planted the malware on these handsets, or a flawed security check meant the malware was able to sneak its way onto the devices.

 

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eBay Launches Valet App That Sells Your Items For You

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Instead of spending hours listing countless items for auction, wouldn’t it be great to have an app that could take on this hard work – and sell your stuff for you? Well your auctioning prayers have been answered – ladies and gentlemen, eBay is pleased to announce the release of its new ‘eBay Valet’ app.

As part of the company’s efforts to expand its little-known Sell For Me service across mobile platforms, eBay Valet has been developed to simplify the selling process as well as increase smartphone usage.

Developed for the iPhone, users take a picture of the item they are looking to sell then add a description. Next, eBay’s “valets” (workers for the online auction site who assess your items being put up for sale) look through the various eBay listings to establish the best prices for your goods – as well as how to appropriately list them.

You’ll then receive a valuation quote, which you can either approve or reject. Should you approve the quote, your items are posted with a deadline of two weeks to sell on eBay. Once the item is sold, you get to keep 70 per cent of the profits – with eBay sending you a postage label or a free prepaid box for you to send your sold items.

“Even though you’re not selling the item, there’s still an experience of selling,” said Steve Yankovich, eBay’s vice president of Innovation and New Ventures. “You get to experience the listing but do none of the work.”

While similar services have tried and failed, given eBay’s standing in the shopping community, the company could end up proving its competitors wrong – and become the first success story of its kind.

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