Posts Tagged ‘retail’
A report reckons that Google’s ‘Shopping’ tab will soon allow you to buy stuff without going through menus and the like.
So does that mean Google are getting into the idea of e-commerce? Not quite - Google won’t be selling the products directly, which means that the internet behemoth is likely to team up with business partnerships with other retailers.
Sounds like it is going to be slightly more faffy than Amazon’s offerings.
Talks with retailers are said to be in preliminary stages, and, if rumours are to be believed, Google like the idea of to-day shipping, again, very similar to Amazon who have Amazon Prime.
As these talks are in the very early stages of development, it could mean that Google ditch the idea after weighing up all the pros and cons. However, Google want more of your data and online behaviour patterns, so this is an attractive prospect that they’re obviously going to take seriously.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Mercifully, it is much nicer and more useful than that, as it is a supermarket that sells items at a fraction of the price for people who are struggling financially. The Community Shop is a cooperative that want to help those stuck in food poverty and will sell goods that are deemed surplus food, donated from the big supermarkets.
Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, the Cooperative, Ocado and Marks and Spencer are all on-board.
Each of these social shops will operate through a membership scheme, so try and make sure it is solely available to those who are skint. It won’t stop some people trying to pull a fast one. For the latter, we advised swift retribution, concerning the seat of someone’s pants and a foot.
At the shops, there’ll also be advice on how to make wholesome, cheap food and help in how to find work. The first official store has opened in London’s Lambeth and a national roll-out is planned after a successful pilot in Goldthorpe in Yorkshire.
John Marren, chairman of Company ShopGroup, who run the scheme, said: “Members can shop for good food at great prices, which eases pressure on their family budgets, and they will also access tailored, professional development programmes, to kick-start positive change in their own lives.”
The error, which occured between 7pm and 8pm on Friday, could cost retailers – who use the tool RepricerExpress – thousands of pounds.
So what happened? Well, this software balls-up has seen hundreds of items sold for just 1p. The tool, which promises to “auto-optimise” prices on behalf of retailers, allowing them to “sell more and keep listings competitive 24/7 without constant attention”.
While those who spotted the glitch, ramraided the site for tat they didn’t necessarily need and wanged on about it on Twitter, the retailers being hit are mainly small companies, and family-run set-ups.
Well what did Brendan Doherty, the RepricerExpress CEO, have to say about the matter?: “I am truly sorry for the distress this has caused our customers. We have received communication that Amazon will not penalise sellers for this error. We are continuing to work to identify how this problem occurred and to put measures in place to ensure that it does not happen again.”
Amazon said the majority of orders were cancelled immediately and confirmed it would be working with sellers who had seen orders processed.
A spokesman for Amazon said: “We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk.”
“We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders. We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly.”
The Royal Mail have been complaining about having to deliver to everyone, so they’ll be pleased that someone else is having a bad time of it all too. Yodel, the couriers, have stopped collecting parcels from shops because they can’t cope with the spike in online orders after Black Friday.
So what’s the craic? Well, Yodel say that some people are going to have to wait for 72 hours while they clear their backlog. Now, that might not seem like a big deal to some, but you should know that there’s a load of nutters out there who demand everything, AND NOW.
Yodel have told their clients that there’s going to be no collections from distribution centres on today. They didn’t do any yesterday either. They’re hoping that everything will be back to normal on Monday, when of course, they’ll have another rush starting because it is the build-up to Christmas.
Hardly inspires confidence, does it?
In a letter to clients, the company’s executive chairman, Dick Stead, said that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had exceeded expectations and that, orders had doubled from the same time last year.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but one that we have had to take to protect service levels,” he said dramatically.
In a statement, Yodel said: “We would like to reassure shoppers that there is no suspension to our delivery service. Deliveries will continue throughout this period, and we are working hard to ensure that these are made as soon as possible. However, some parcels may be delayed for up to 72 hours.”
“By Monday we expect to resume our normal service. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to our clients and their customers.”
Who uses Yodel? Well, Argos and Amazon for starters, but Amazon assured that those asking for next day delivery will still get their packages in the correct timeframe while Argos were a little more browbeaten and said: ”We are very sorry and are urgently contacting all affected customers to rearrange their collections.”
“In the meantime, unlike other online retailers, customers have the option of returning items at their nearest Argos store. 90% of the UK population lives within seven miles of one of our 734 stores.”
So there you have it.
Tesco, who are officially known as ‘the beleaguered supermarket giant’ these days, have been having all manner of Click & Collect problems after Black Friday and in the build-up to Christmas and, to make matters worse, they’ve just announced that they’re drastically cutting their profits forecast, because everything has been going wrong for them since their accounting cock-up.
Tesco said that they want to win everyone back by hiring 6,000 new memebers of staff (presumably, they won’t be manning the tills as traditional checkouts seem to be vanishing) and offer more price-cuts for customers. This is all because new chief executive Dave Lewis has to do something to overhaul the ailing giant and patch up that horrible £263m black hole in the company accounts.
“Our new approach will underpin stronger long-term relationships with our suppliers, benefiting customers, whilst at the same time ensuring that revenue recognition is transparent and appropriate. We have retrained our entire team and begun the cascade with our suppliers,” the company said in a statement.
However, that didn’t stop the company’s shares from sinking like a rubber brick in the deep-end: another large profit warning saw shares tumbling by more than 10%, with around £1.6 billion slashed from the value.
That’s the third profit warning in recent month.
After their rampant growth and ruthless expansion, who would’ve ever seen all this liquid dung hitting the fan? Absolute madness. Here’s hoping for some bargains at Tesco’s expense.
One reader got in touch with us and said: “Ordered from Gearbest 4 items the promised 3-5 days when nothing came I emailed them they gave me a false tracking number… thanks to this scam £186 taken from my account”, adding: “they said payment was made into their paypal account £186 inc insurance, I am so mad and gutted for my kids, i doubt i get my money back they have lied in emails (at least 20!)”
So we decided to look into it a little further and it seems like problems aren’t uncommon with GearBest. There’s been complaints of issues with shipping and money being taken multiple times.
Elsewhere, people who have shopped with GearBest have said: “I FEEL CHEATED! Deducted 3 times from credit card for cancelled item!” which no confirmation emails for products and featuring items that are out of stock, taking the money for them and leaving customers in limbo. On top of that, customers have said that GearBest aren’t exactly forthcoming with information when they’ve been sent queries.
One customer, unsatisfied with the slow return on emailing with problems noted that the helpline requires you to call long-distance, saying that the whole thing was the “worst experience of my life.”
Another complaint said: “Ordered tablets from this website, they’re now asking for pictures of debit card and passport, this is completely unacceptable this is my private information, I have never heard of a website asking for this type of information before, unless a scam.”
We should point out that GearBest is a legitimate business and not a scam site and that there are some positive comments floating around about them. However, at best, GearBest sound like a hassle and at worst, it looks like they may have taken money from customers without fulfilling orders with subsequent and frustrating chasing.
One to avoid if you’re Christmas shopping (and beyond).
Their non-food website has buckled under the weight of Christmas orders, and have now had to put a hold on their ‘next day’ service.
Oh and they’ve also had to issue a warning to customers that it could be more like three days. Oh Christ.
According to a post on their website: “We are really sorry, but due to unprecedented demand we are currently unable to provide next day Click & Collect,”
“We are doing our very best to provide you with the best possible service, but Click & Collect orders will be delayed by two days. For example, if you order on Monday before 5pm, it will not be available for collection before 3pm on Thursday.”
This comes just days after the Tesco Direct site went down due to the chain’s Black Friday bargains. Tesco said the move would not impact on the deliveries of third party sellers advertised on its online marketplace.
Oh you just want to give them a bloody good slap now.
British Chief Executive Mark Fox said the giant chain’s UK operations are likely to be profitable within three years, however until Starbucks returns to profit, corporation tax is not applicable.
Fox reckons it’s nothing unusual, but did find it odd that the chain had yet to make a profit from the average £3.50 a coffee.
Tax avoidance is nothing new with Starbucks, when it emerged two years ago that it had only paid £8.6 million in corporation tax, despite a £3 billion in the bank since it first infested the UK in 1998. Back then it was accused of funnelling profits through the Netherlands because lower tax. They’re still under investigation for that.
Fox has admitted to the Evening Standard that Starbucks had been damaged by the tax row, but insisted that Starbucks’ tax affairs were very, very ordinary. He said: “It happens across the sector and therefore it didn’t bother me at all.”
“There was nothing abnormal about the way Starbucks is run in the UK. What is abnormal is that we haven’t been making a profit,” adding: “I look at the business now with eight quarters of growth, I don’t see a damaged brand, I see a brand that is starting to regain its mojo.”
Now, Boris Johnson with his disaster of a haircut, is saying he wants a personal drone to deliver his internet shopping from the sky at the thwack of a button. He’s noticed that more people buy things online than they used to and this has seen an increase in vans on the road.
Speaking at a trade visit to Singapore, Johnson said he wanted to be able to use an app to guide flying robots anywhere in London.
Boris thinks it’ll alleviate the craziness on the roads of Britain, and he’s urging London’s financial technology sector (FinTech) to provide a solution for that.
He said: “We have a problem, folks – all this internet shopping is leading to a massive increase in white van traffic dropping this stuff off – 45% it’s going to go up on London in the next seven years. That’s going to be terrible for congestion in our city and doubtless the same will be true of Singapore as well.”
“I look out at this brilliant audience here today, bulging with ideas, and I ask you possibly to solve it. We need a solution… Is it, as I hope, going to be drones? I want to be controlling an app that enables my shopping not only to be click and collect… I want my own personal drone to come and drop it wherever I choose.”
What could go wrong? A load of people navigating their own drones over a busy city? You can almost see a drone loaded up with bags of shopping dropping out of the sky into traffic, already.
Poundland – the land where everything’s a pound, unlike some – have posted a good set of half year results!
The discount retailer where every day is literally Black Friday saw their pre-tax profit climb 11.7% from £8.4m after non-underlying charges to £9.3m on sales up 15% from £459.2m to £528.2m. Like-for-like sales moved 4.7% higher compared with 0.8% for the same period last year.
They also expanded the empire from 490 in 2013, to 556 shops now. 28 new stores were opened, retail park outlets gained 26 more branches taking them to 72 and there’s another 60 new shops in general planned in UK and Ireland in the current financial year. Blimey.
Jim McCarthy, chief executive, reckoned Poundland would continue to benefit from continuing consumer behaviour and doing better business in improving economic conditions than it was in recession, saying: “As the structural changes in UK retail continue to redraw the landscape, we are building our reputation for offering amazing value every day to our customers and substantially broadening our appeal.”
“We know that Poundland is a good business in a recession and we believe it is an even better business in improving economic conditions. It is now seen as smart to save money and Poundland will continue to benefit from changing consumer shopping behaviour.”
Stick that in your pipe, Tesco.
Well, turns out that it is Asda. Their chicken has the highest proportion of chickens contaminated with unpleasant bacteria that causes food poisoning, out of all the supermarkets. And that’s according to the Food Standards Agency.
The other supermarkets shouldn’t start crowing about it though because the FSA found, in a rather damning report, that 70% of chickens sold at supermarkets contained unacceptably high levels of campylobacteria.
Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA, said: “Wherever you buy chicken from you are at risk from this nasty bug.”
He added that supermarkets aren’t doing enough to protect chicken munchers and that tens of thousands of people are being made ill by them. So no-one comes out of this particularly well, with only Tesco managing to have overall contamination levels lower than the industry average.
Wearne continued: “What I would do is make sure I cook it properly. These results show that the food industry, especially retailers, need to do more to reduce the amount of campylobacter on fresh chickens.”
So, if you like, you can now look at a table of dirty chickens and see who is best and who is going to make you able to poo through a lace curtain.
Across the country, Tesco have been trialling new, slimmer self-service tills. Not because they look nicer, but rather, they can get more bodies in who will serve themselves and bundle them out the door again. In one Manchester store, there is no traditional till served by a member of staff. One London Tesco branch is also entirely self-serving too.
Instead, the staff are now hanging around the self service tills as floating assistants, too flustered to converse with customers, and effectively retraining everyone who walks through the door to be an unpaid worker.
Tesco won’t mind though because they think that they can pass off self-service tills as something that will reduce queuing time for consumers.
However, there’s a number of problems with self-service tills – by getting the customer to do some of the work, that means they don’t need to pay as many members of staff, but are Tesco passing on the money they’re saving to customers? Not a chance.
Another problem is that research has shown that the queues have been replaced by a lengthier waiting time while customers have technical problems with the self-service tills, argue with the staff about not wanting to use the machines and the whole ‘bagging area’ irritation. A survey by the Telegraph showed that the shops offering a choice between staffed and automated tills, it is usually quicker to choose the traditional method. In addition, if a store has one remaining manned cash register, then the queues get increasingly large there, as customers avoid the automated ones.
Anecdotally, one city-centre store BW has seen has gone from a friendly (no, honestly, pleasantly friendly), bustling supermarket to half-dead overnight. That’s not because the 100% self-service checkouts have streamlined service, but rather, the nearby shops that offer both self-service and trad. arr. staffed tills are now much busier than before because customers have the choice of talking to, or ignoring other humans.
Of course, self-service tills offer a humiliating prospect for older customers, who aren’t all tech-savvy and, pat on the back for this one supermarkets, by removing a chatty member of staff from their lives, may have lost an old dear the only person they got to talk to in a day. Naturally, there’s a whole host of tech-knowledgeable pensioners out there, but even they must miss a brief ‘hello’ when shopping, rather than moving through a shop silently.
In some Tesco stores, you could feasibly spend £200 on your shopping without actually speaking to another human or receiving any acknowledgement or gratitude from the company’s proprietors or management. Empty as a ‘thank you’ can be, it is still nice to get one if you’re handing over your money to a company.
In self-service heavy outlets, you walk in, shop, put your own stuff into the system without the savings being passed on, walk out and the only thanks you get is a sign, swaying in the rafters that says “Thanks For Shopping At Tesco”. It should go without saying that there’s some people who actively prefer self-service tills, but it is lousy to see supermarkets edging toward a lack of choice for the customer.
Obviously, self-service isn’t always bad – when was the last time someone served your petrol, or the last time someone eschewed a cash machine because they wanted to get their money from a bank clerk? There’s a good number of people who have enjoyed the five-fingered discount that self-service allows too.
There’s just something bleak about Tesco, a company that has lost huge sums of money and losing ground to Aldi and Lidl, choosing to squeeze pennies out of customers so flagrantly. With customers seemingly voting with their feet and shopping elsewhere, it is a problem that Tesco need to look at.
Tesco and a customer have been flirting with each other in the most nauseating way imaginable – by writing poems to one another.
That’s right, a pair of Charlies wrote to Tesco’s Sir Richard Broadbent with a poem about salted popcorn and how their local branch had no plans to restock it.
Tesco replied with a poem and a £10 voucher while the rest of us vomited up everything we’ve got (save for the saps who will inevitably say ‘Ooooh stop complaining – it is just a bit of fun!’. They’ll be the first against the wall come the revolution).
Google have made spending your money even simpler for you this Christmas.
The search engine has been updated to include new elements on smartphones and tablets to sell you even more stuff this Black Friday.
Extra information will be yours when you tap in something like ‘kettles’, and it will tell you where the product is available and user reviews and will pop up on a regular search. You’ll also have the option to use a 3D, 360-degree rotation tool to view some products.
Google reckon half of all people between 25 and 34 use their phones to shop while they’re out shopping. This new app will enable them to do so with even greater ease, and you’ll be even able to track your items and stock levels. I mean, how much more help does one want here?
This cost-cutting from the supermarkets of the UK has seen a sharp increase in insolvency among food producers, with the number of companies in the food production sector entering insolvency rising by 28% in the 12 months.
Duncan Swift, a partner at Moore Stephens, says: “Supermarkets are trying to compete on price with Aldi and Lidl, but with profit margins that are far higher than these discount chains.”
So, in the case of farmers and the like, who often operate as sole traders and therefore aren’t registered at Companies House, this means that if they’re suffering, Moore Stephens’ figures are likely to not tell the whole picture of how hard it is for food producers.
Those in the food-making industry are waiting longer to get paid from supermarkets too. Jeff Longhurst, chief executive of the ABFA, said: “Many in the food and drink sector believe the problems with payment terms have now become endemic.”
Tesco – the UK’s largest supermarket by market share – revealed a £263m shortfall in profits in October, as a result of problems with the timing of payments received from its own suppliers.
“Supplier contributions cause major cash-flow problems for food producers and can tip them into insolvency,” added Swift. “It’s a raw deal for the food producers who need the supermarkets to reach the public, but who can’t afford the terms of business that the supermarkets foist on them.”