online shopping Shops still play part in online shopping solutionsShoppers still prefer to have a gander at goods in real shops before purchasing them online, a new survey has said.

According to findings, 65% of shoppers prefer to check out a thing in a shop before pressing ‘buy’ online.

The report by Geometry Global, called The Connected Shopper study, interviewed 9,486 people across 12 countries, and found there is a continued reliance on physical stores with 88% of shoppers who visit a physical store first citing seeing the product in real life as the primary reason for visiting.

Of the 12 countries studied, China topped the list in number of online purchases (5.88) with European countries trailing significantly; the countries making the least purchases online were France (2.40) and Spain (2.17).

Checking prices (65%) is the second reason why shoppers visit physical stores.

Actual online shopping only grew by 5% in 2011 to 7% in 2014. Which isn’t all that really.

The elegantly named Cesar Montes, EMEA CSO of Geometry Global, said: “Our findings confirm that we haven’t yet witnessed the complete online shopping revolution some had predicted. There are a number of reasons for this: the high street still occupies a central and vital function in the consumer’s journey to purchase.

“In addition, there remain a number of obstacles to consumers fully accepting online shopping, such as security concerns, payment methods and unwillingness to engage with brands via social media.”

The study also noticed that 63% of users really are not going to ‘friend’ brands online. So stop trying to engage, you big bad corporates. However 70% liked ads tailored to them. Little wonder when some companies deliveries are so poor.

Frozen food is uncool say the young

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Frosty Freezer 300x225 Frozen food is uncool say the youngYoung people don’t dig frozen food.

Or so that’s what a new survey claims, as it discovered that 18-34 year olds were twice as likely to dislike food stored in the freezer than those codgers over 35.

These fascinating findings come from IGD ShoperVista, who surveyed over 4,000 UK adults about their food storage solutions.

It transpires that many of the younger age group only used the freezer to store meat with a close use-by date and “unwanted food gifts”. Many considered food in their freezer an “insurance policy” for when no better options are available, and keep fun stuff like poppers and six-box of Magnums in their freezer instead.

Despite not being fans of frozen food, a quarter of 18-34-year-olds feel they have insufficient room in the freezer. Only 14% of over-35s also felt this to be an issue. Over half of those questioned in both age groups, said that they used their freezer for frozen food rather than freezing home cooked leftovers.

Yet it seems for the younger group, which represented only those who live away from home and do not have children, whatever is in their freezer is gash. Also: defrosting is a bit of a drag.

It all may sound a bit bleedin’ pointless, but this information comes as part of the IGD’s ‘Working On Waste’ campaign, which is trying to tackle these issues and change modern attitudes to leftovers and leaving something in the freezer for the best part of five years.

IGD chief executive, Joanne Denney-Finch says: “In its first year, Working on Waste will reach around 650,000 employees in one month through meal planning advice, top tips, what to do with leftovers and much more,”

“As an industry, we employ 3.6 million people and it is these employees that will form the bedrock of our campaign, taking learnings from their company into their households. A lot of progress has been made already by companies across the industry to help consumers reduce household food waste. However, seven million tonnes of food and drink is still being thrown away by UK homes every year.”

Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceries

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco 300x210 Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceriesThe trouble at Tesco simply won’t go away, with reports that the retailers sales are falling at the quickest rate in the grocery industry. As we all know, Aldi and Lidl’s successes are taking a huge toll on the supermarket.

Tesco sales fell by 3.6% in the 12 weeks to October 12th, reducing their market share from 30.1% a year ago to 28.8%, according to Kantar Worldpanel. It might not seem like a lot from the outside, but in the industry, this is bleak news. Or great news if you’re a rival.

 

In simple terms, to turn this around, analysts at HSBC reckon that it will cost Tesco £3bn to get things sorted in the UK. The good news for customers is that this should mean a drop in prices on goods by 5 or 6%. It would also mean 20% more staff and an improvement in the quality of their food.

Sainsbury’s are struggling too, with their sales down by 3.1% in 12 weeks, with Morrisons’ sales down by 1.8%. Asda, who have been quietly getting on with business as usual of late, have seen their sales increase by 1%. These figures are all knocked into a cocked-hat though, as Aldi’s sales have shot up by 27.3% and Lidl’s by 18.1%.

According to a detailed new survey of shoppers, Tesco’s brand in the UK is “severely compromised” thanks to a general and widespread disillusionment from customers with Tesco’s service. Research from the firm Lazarus shows that Tesco currently have the lowest overall customer satisfaction metrics in the grocery industry. As a brand, it has been labelled as “tarnished”.

Who are the worst at delivering parcels?

October 21st, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

parcel delivery Who are the worst at delivering parcels?Many consumers have had bother when receiving their online deliveries. Parcels can be late, go missing entirely, contain damaged goods or in some cases, thrown on a roof for you to fetch.

According to Which!!!, 60% of us prefer to shop online for the convenience, even though 26% of us have had trouble with the delivery process. Seems like a gamble we’re willing to take because we’re all fantastically bone idle.

The biggest problem is late deliveries and not being able to choose a delivery time.

However, not all companies are bad. Some are in fact, rather good. According to a Which!!! poll, the best in the business are WexPhotographic.com, JohnLewis.com, LizEarle.com and RicherSounds.com.

Which!!!’s Richard Lloyd, said: “One of the attractions of shopping online is the convenience of having your items delivered but we’ve found the experience can be anything but convenient. We want shops to do more to ensure that the service is first class, first time. Retailers need to respond to consumers’ demands and stamp out dodgy deliveries.”

So with that, let us look at the best and worst companies when it comes to delivering your purchases.

Ten Best Online Shops

1. WexPhotographic.com
2. JohnLewis.com
3. LizEarle.com
=RicherSounds.com
5. AO.com
=Lakeland.co.uk
=Toolstation.com
8. ChainReactionCycles.com
=Coopelectricalshop.co.uk
10. AbeBooks.co.uk
=Screwfix.com
=Wiggle.co.uk

The Worst Online Shops

90. Shop.BT.com (BT Shop )
= Halfords.com
= Isme.com
93. ToysRUs.co.uk
94. HMV.com
95. PCWorld.co.uk
= TomTom.com
97. Homebase.co.uk
98. WHSmith.co.uk
99. DIY.com (B&Q)

Tesco misled auditors to inflate results

October 20th, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco misled auditors to inflate resultsEveryone is still laughing at Tesco as their woes continue apace. The latest is that, according to leaks, investigators from Deloitte and Freshfields have discovered that a number of execs at the supermarket deliberately misled auditors and accountants to try and hide their dismal financial results.

This is all revolving around the £250m accounting scandal and various sackings that Tesco have found themselves lumbered with.

So what’s the skinny? Well, it is thought that Tesco booked supplier payments that were reliant on condition of them hitting sales targets – ones that they were never, ever going to meet. It seems like this practice has been going on for a while, but were increased just before Tesco’s spectacular slump.

To make things worse, it looks like Tesco’s South Korean wing has been selling the personal data of more than five million customers to insurance companies, which is likely to end in prosecution. Things are so toxic in that area that Tesco’s Asian operations could be sold off. However, that can’t happen while there’s an investigation going on.

As a result, Tesco’s share price has fallen by 48% since the start of 2014.

Tesco are a complete shambles at the minute, but it is very, very difficult to feel sorry for them after they aggressively muscled out countless independent retailers out of the market over the years. So, in short – Haw Haw!

Iceland unveil the £5 lobster

October 20th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

lobster Iceland unveil the £5 lobsterPeter Andre isn’t the only orangey red thing Iceland are throwing at you this season.

The frozen food giant is going to offering a cooked whole lobster for a fiver as part of the Christmas line-up.

Coming ‘atcha from November 5th, it’s the first time the prawn-ring and 89p pizza vendor has offered whole lobster.

Lobster has been on sale in the past at Waitrose (for a sinister £6.66), Tesco and Ocado, but this is the cheapest the high street has seen.

Iceland will also be offering what it reckons is the “best value turkey dinner in Britain”, whose chief component is a turkey crown for 12 priced at £14.

Iceland proudly claim a family of eight could buy a full turkey dinner, with starter and pudding, for £29.39, or £3.67 per head.

Iceland themselves aren’t doing too badly either, seeing as they’ve essentially been doing the cost-cutting thing for years, that Aldi and Lidl are now being praised for. Hurrah!

WH Smith to launch card shop

October 17th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

whsmith WH Smith to launch card shopWH Smith are going to experiment with a new high street format!

The high street stationer, who somewhat astonishingly managed to post a 9% rise in their annual profits despite seeming like a half empty shell of itself flogging dead media and £1 Whole Nuts, is looking into starting a number of greetings cards affairs called Cardmarket.

WH Smith have 725 travel stores and a further 604 on the high street, seem to think that starting up a card shop is the way ahead. They must be making a pretty penny with their funkypigeon.com business wing, eh?

The company, as a whole, chorused: “In contrast to our existing greeting cards offer, which is at the premium end of the market, these stores will provide customers with a value-based proposition in this growing part of the market. The trial will be in relatively low rent, short term leases in non-prime pitch locations.”

The end of that quote is a completely unsexy amalgamation of words isn’t it?

Like-for-like sales in both parts of the group have been consistently negative since 2005 but the retailer’s policy of focusing instead on margins is admired by City analysts.

So yes, those sleeping giants that you think are just cathedrals of magazines for tramps to flick through, are actually going okay thanks.

Sugar Puffs RIP

October 17th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Sugar Puffs RIP. That’s right - Sugar Puffs have been modified to have less sugar and – oh God – are being renamed. Are Mumsnet behind this? This reeks of people complaining about the word ‘sugar’ on a children’s breakfast.

The legendary treat will now be called Honey Monster Puffs. Look at the state of them.

honey monster Sugar Puffs RIP

The new look puffs will feature a revised recipe with less sugar and 20% more honey, and also features traffic light nutritional labelling on front of pack, which no-one will read. And besides, isn’t honey the same thing as sugar?

The puffs’ owners, Halo, said it was taking a “responsible and transparent” approach to nutrition and wanted to help consumers make informed decisions. Honey Monster Puffs contain 8.6g of sugar in a 30g portion – down from the 9.3g of the previous recipe – which is less than Krave (9g), Coco Pops (11g) and Frosties (11g).

Halo said the sugar content of the brand had been reduced by almost 40% in the past decade. That’s no fun is it? Some things are great purely because they’re really, really bad for you. Anyway, this is all part of a relaunch for the cereal, which has gradually been crashing saleswise over the last few years.

“We feel the product ­relaunch, coupled with our move to bring the product name in line with the Honey Monster character, can help grow our share of the cereals category,” said Halo Foods marketing director Andy Valentine.

The Honey Monster will be back, as he’s the dude on the packaging, and as is always the way these days, they’re hoping to ‘tap into nostalgia of the brand’. Jeez.

A key element of the marketing will be encouraging children to get outside and be active, and allowing them to be au fait with a big yellow monster coming in to nick their breakfast, who has urine that smells exactly like the cereal he’s promoting.

converse Converse to sue everyone for ripping off Chuck TaylorsConverse’s ‘Chuck Taylor’ trainers have been worn by pretty much everyone in rock ‘n’ roll and as a result, are one of the most iconic trainer designs in the world.

With that, just about everyone has ripped them off. Walk into any high street clothes vendor and chances are, they’ll have their own non-branded range of ‘Chucks’.

And Converse are suddenly very unhappy about it.

They’re so unhappy that they’re going to sue a whole load of people, including Ralph Lauren, K Mart and Wal-Mart for infringing their design. Seeing as Converse first released the shoes in 1917, they’ve certainly taken their time in doing something about it.

The company’s chief exec Jim Calhoun said he’s got no objection to fair competition, but, “we do not believe companies have a right to copy the Chuck’s trademarked look.” The company have sent 180 legal cease and desist notices to protect their brand.

Basically, Converse are protecting the design of the rubber toe cap and the stripes that appear on the mid-sole of the trainer. The cease and desist letters, thus far, are being ignored by other companies.

Same-day delivery Amazon is now a thing

October 15th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Screen shot 2010 12 22 at 15.03.25 Same day delivery Amazon is now a thingAs of today, customers ordering stuff from Amazon will be able to get it the same day.

In its boldest impression of ‘a shop’ yet, you’ll be able to purchase online before 11.45am and then collect at one of the company’s 500 collection points.

Also, as part of its ‘Pick-up Location’ programme Amazon also said that users will be able to order by 7.45pm to pick up from 6.30am the following day. It will initially be free to members of Amazon’s £79 per year Prime premium service and £4.99 per delivery for non-members.

Amazon reckons that this drives people back to high streets where they spend more money in other shops. Usually a few bob in Poundland and some slap-up sausage rolls from Greggs.

Chris North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk said “We know that customers want a variety of different delivery options and many are choosing collection from pick-up locations as their preferred delivery method. You can certainly expect us to continue to add more and more pick up locations to the thousands already in existence.”

“We know that Prime customers love fast delivery and the convenience to pick up their order at a time and place that suits them best,” said Mr North. He claimed “This new service brings together both of those great benefits.”

Amazon reckon they now have over 6000+ pick-up points, which themselves have doubled in number in the last year.

Deathwatch: Mulberry post a profit warning

October 15th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

mulberry 300x156 Deathwatch: Mulberry post a profit warningSnoot handbag peddlers Mulberry have posted a profit warning. The luxury brand has been suffering somewhat after a drop in sales.

Fortunately, in one of those ‘it only makes sense in fashion’ situations, the company hopes it will be saved by a handbag designed by model Cara Delevingne

The company previously revived itself when it launched the Alexa bag, which is based on the TV presenter Alexa Chung. Alan Hansen is on telly more than her though, and no one wants his bleedin’ handbag.

Mulberry’s former designer Emma Hill called the Alexa ‘the anti-It bag that became an It bag’ – and it became so popular that it once had a waiting list that ran into thousands and accounted for a third of Mulberry’s sales.

It’s enough to make you want to strap explosives on to your body.

But Mulberry has since struggled to come up with another hit on the same scale – with the launch of its Willow Tote and other designs failing to capture womens’ imaginations. It is now valued at just £340million.

The bad news sent shares to a four-year low at one point yesterday, wiping 17per cent off the value of the Somerset-firm. 17% was wiped off the swanky company’s value after the departure of creative director Emma Hill, who was widely credited for the success of the Alexa satchel.

It has since launched a range of cheaper styles and has been trying to replicate its success with Miss Chung by contributing with model of the moment Cara Delevingne this autumn.

Executive chairman Godfrey Davis said: “As expected the first half has been difficult. Profit before tax… is expected to be significantly below current expectations. Despite the current challenges I remain confident that we build on Mulberry’s solid foundations.”

As a lure to attract the genuinely quite thick, at £795, there is a Mini Cara Delevingne Bag in black natural leather and this rises to the top end large Cara Delevingne Bag in Black & White Camouflage at £2,500.

Potential deathwatch on our hands here, so we’ll keep our eyes on them.

Sainsbury’s are changing Nectar points

October 14th, 2014 8 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Nectar 300x163 Sainsburys are changing Nectar pointsSainsbury’s are shaking things up with the way they dole out rewards for Nectar points… and you might not necessarily like it.

They say: “From 11 April 2015, Sainsbury’s are changing the way you earn Nectar points, so you’ll earn 1 point for every £1* you spend in store and online at Sainsbury’s. You’ll also no longer receive 1 Nectar point for every bag you reuse in store.”

That little asterisk is their own addition, which means you can’t earn on fags and booze or ‘infant formula’.

So that means you’re going to earn less points when you shop with them.

They continue: “While this means you’ll earn fewer points on your shopping, you’ll still earn 1 point per litre of fuel as before. Plus, Sainsbury’s will be bringing you lots of new opportunities to boost your balance faster and more value when you spend your points. Look out for the Nectar ‘Thanks a million’ event in store from 17-19 October for starters.”

Sainsbury’s promise ‘Double Up’ promotions around Christmas, as well as promising vouchers which will be worth more than a quid per point, providing you want to go to the cinema or eat at a Pizza Express.

For the full run down of what this means for you and your Nectar card, click here.

Argos go all-out in fancy new advert

October 14th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

Anyone thinking that by binning the aliens, Argos had given up on that old advertising lark.

Oh no.

The company have thrown £10 million on its biggest campaign yet.

Quite good, yes?

Argos have been gradually transforming their in-store and online offering as part of a £300 million investment including the introduction of Fast Track collection, free reservation online, and a click and collect partnership with eBay.

Speaking to The Drum, marketing director Stephen Vowles said: “Now it’s time to time to get people to think about Argos differently and get customers and non-customers to sit up and take notice,”

“Argos is unique and we don’t want to just be a slightly different version of a high street retailer or a slightly different version of a pure play online retailer. We want to assert our own uniqueness and re-establish ourselves as a unique category of one player.”

The new ad shows a load of break-dancers, skateboarders and general active types freaking out to the toe-tappin’ ‘How You Like Me Now?’ by The Heavy.

Vowles explained: “There’s a lot of advertising out there that makes people go ‘Ahhh, isn’t that sweet. That’s not really who Argos is. We’re about excitement, action and that’s what we wanted to capture – a real sense of dynamism, drama, speed and action.”

The ad uses the strapline ‘Get Set Go Argos’ to reinforce the message, and will run out to its 730(!) stores.

Biggest fall in UK shopping thanks to warm weather

October 14th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

shoppers Biggest fall in UK shopping thanks to warm weatherReports are saying that we’re currently looking at the weakest performing high street since the worst bits of the 2008-09 recession.

An unusually warm September was blamed on all this, even though they would’ve blamed it on wet weather if that was around. Basically, people don’t know why we’re not shopping as much as we used to. Maybe its because we’re skint?

The British Retail Consortium said that the year-on-year drop in consumer spending was the most pronounced since December 2008, but said that there is some comfort to be taken from the fact that spending on big-ticket items such as furniture continued to be strong.

Helen Dickinson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “In September, we saw the lowest retail sales figures since December 2008, excluding Easter distortions. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the continuing decline in food sales.”

“Furthermore, there was exceptionally low demand for items such as boots and coats, resulting in the lowest fashion sales performance since April 2012. However, demand for big-ticket items continues to be strong, with furniture outperforming all other categories.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “After a bumper summer, this is a disappointing outcome for retailers and has undoubtedly reversed some of the sales gains made in August. However, if temperatures drop to a more seasonal level this cooler weather will quickly turn around retailers’ fortunes and help them to sell their autumn-winter ranges.”

“The grocers had another challenging month, with further price cuts and promotions announced by most. With a rebasing of margins in the grocery sector throughout the year, this final quarter will see sales go to those who are most focused on their customers.”

Amazon actually on the high street

October 10th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

amazoninstant Amazon actually on the high streetAmazon is opening its first proper shop.

Yes, having pretty much decimated the high street with selling its wares on the internet, the online behemoth has decided to set up an actual proper shop.

However it’s in New York. By the Empire State Building. Oh.

The 7 West 34th Street location will act as a mini-warehouse, but also cater for same-day deliveries in the city, product exchanges and customers picking up orders they have placed online, the Wall Street Journal claimed.

Which is a bit like Argos if you think about it.

Amazon may also use the store to showcase products such as its Kindle e-reader, Fire smartphone and Fire TV set-top box. The company have been scouting out locations for a shop for a while now, possibly in Seattle where the company is based.

This new shop is being deemed an experiment, and if it doesn’t go tits up, there’ll be more shops rolling out across the planet before you know it.

A survey by retail agency Live & Breathe last year found that 31% of shoppers want Amazon to open physical shops on the UK high street, because they needed to go outside occasionally, and sitting about in a gloomy precinct overrun by tat seemed preferable.