Archive for November, 1999

Shoppers Set To Buy Gifts Online

Monday, November 15th, 1999

1999 is set to be the UK’s first real ‘cyber Christmas’.

Santa’s sleigh will be heavily laden with seasonal gifts purchased online via home PCs, a MORI poll has found.

There are an estimated 50,000 people in the province already connected to the internet – so thousands of pounds of Christmas business will be generated locally.

MORI surveyed 500 Internet users across the UK on behalf of BlackStar, the UK’s biggest provider of online video and DVD products.

According to the people surveyed, online Christmas shopping has its advantages. 20% of respondents expect to save money while 35% believe it will save time.

Men are more likely to see the benefits of online shopping than women and are twice as likely to see potential costs savings as a benefit.

Gone is the nightmare of the Christmas rush in shopping centres.

Jeremy Glover, co- founder and director of Blackstar, said: ‘This doesn’t just represent a step up for Christmas cyber shopping compared to last year – it’s a gigantic leap. 1999 will truly be Britain’s first cyber Christmas.’

Half of the survey respondents said web sites would have to offer cheaper prices than the High Street and free delivery in order to make online shopping more appealing.

The most popular online shopping goods are CDs and books followed by cinema, theatre and concert tickets, videos, DVDs, and holidays.

Catch the Web and Surf Away from Shopping Agonies

Saturday, November 6th, 1999

Whoever dubbed shopping ‘retail therapy’ was clearly not thinking of Christmas when they coined the phrase.

The seasonal spending spree is probably one of the great stress creators after moving house, divorce and filling out self-assessment tax forms.

Whereas self-indulgent, mood-placating shopping trips are all about the buyer, Christmas shopping is all about the bought for.

It is hours spent agonising over purchasing the prefect home/personal accessory for relatives you seldom see and whose interests you know nothing about.

You battle from store to store, confronted in each by identical glittery gift packs filled with the type of items you wouldn’t normally grant shelf space.

Indecision gnaws away at you as you hesitate, certain that the lucky recipient will know exactly which chain store you bought it from and how much (or how little) it cost.

There is an end, however, to this agony and it is right at your fingertips. On-line shopping is the new vogue and this year, according to Mori, more than a third of Internet users will be flexing their digits rather than their feet and doing their buying from the comfort of their own homes.

According to the poll, commissioned by on-line video and DVD retailers Blackstar.co.uk, around three million cyber savvy consumers will spend £130 each, a third of their Christmas budget t hrough their computers.

The benefits, apart from free parking, guaranteed good weather and an escape from battling through crowds of other weary present hunters, are savings in both time and money.

Twenty per cent of the people questioned believed that it was cheaper to shop on-line and 35 per cent considered it was quicker.

The favourite purchases are set to be items that can be bought without needing to be looked at for quality or fit, such as CDs, videos and books. These are followed by concert, cinema or theatre tickets, holidays and computer equipment.

The survey also discovered that it was more likely to be Midlanders who would embrace the new technology. Twenty two per cent of them anticipate spending nearly half their festive budget over the Web, compared with 19 per cent of southerners and 12 per cent of northerners.

Jeremy Glover of Blackstar said: ‘Santa has swapped his sleigh for a surfboard this year. 1999 will truly by Britain’s first cyber Christmas.

‘We are accelerating our hiring plans for customer service personnel to cope with the anticipated pre-Christmas demand.’

Two former City dealers are hoping to catch the surf-to-shop wave by establishing a virtual high street where customers can browse in familiar stores.

Joe Green and Darren Liebman have already attracted 16 big name retailers to set up shop in the world’s first 3D internet shopping mall.

WH Smith, BT, C&A, Somerfield, 24-7, Interflora, Thorntons, FH Hinds Jewellers and Thomas Cook can all be found on www.theonlinehighstreet.co.uk

The duo came up with the concept to cut down on the time consuming task of trawling though individual websites.

As well as general goods and services, Odeon cinema tickets and financial services from Barclays Bank and Nationwide Building Society are also available through the site.

Forget Sherry And Mince Pies, It’s Dear Santa.com

Thursday, November 4th, 1999

SANTA could end up swapping his sleigh for an e-mail address this year as 3.6 million shoppers turn to the Internet to order presents, a new survey reveals.

Almost a third of Britain’s Internet users will be cyber-shopping this Christmas, according to the MORI survey of 500 Internet users commissioned by online video and DVD retailer, BlackStar. co. uk.

Those planning to buy Christmas gifts online said they would spend around £130 each, representing about a third of their total Christmas shopping budget of £446. Thirty-five per cent expected to save time and 20 per cent thought they would save money by buying online.

Men were more likely than women to see the benefits of online shopping, and were twice as likely to see potential costs savings as a benefit.

Only five per cent said they planned to shop online to avoid crowded high streets, and just two per cent of men said they would buy lingerie online.

The most popular items that Internet users are likely to buy online this Christmas are CDs and books (27 per cent), theatre, cinema and concert tickets (14 per cent), and flights, holidays, computer equipment, videos and DVDs (13 per cent).

Most cyber-shopping will be done from home with only seven per cent considering using the facilities at work.

For half of those surveyed, websites would have to offer cheaper prices than the high street, while a third wanted free delivery to make online shopping appealing.

People said they would be encouraged to shop online if websites had fewer hidden charges, such as VAT (28 per cent), and offered assured delivery dates (26 per cent), a no-quibbles exchange policy (25 per cent) and a wider range of products than the high street (21 per cent).

Jeremy Glover, co-founder and director of BlackStar, said: ‘This doesn’t just represent a step up for Christmas cyber-shopping compared to last year. It’s a gigantic leap. This year will truly be Britain’s first cyber-Christmas.

‘We are accelerating our hiring plans for customer service personnel to cope with the anticipated pre-Christmas demand, as our customers say our personalised service and free delivery make online shopping more practical for them.’

The Internet is becoming a forum for other types of retail schemes that go beyond direct selling. The UK online bookstore, www. bol. com, has created an affiliates scheme allowing Internet users in Britain to turn their websites into virtual bookstores and earn 20 per cent of the net BOL discount price on every book sold.

Alexander Broich, BOL’s UK managing director, said: ‘With the BOL Affiliate Programme, every owner of a website, whether it is a personal homepage or a large portal site, can make money out of selling books on their website and by building these partnerships, BOL gains new and powerful distribution channels.’

Still Time To Weave Your Way To The Web

Thursday, November 4th, 1999

A new survey of Internet users suggests that as much as £450 million of Christmas spending this year will be online, with books and CDs proving particularly popular.

As many as 3.6 million Internet users could spend as much as 30% of their Christmas shopping budgets on the Net.

The MORI survey, commissioned by online video retailer Blackstar, reveals that many of those interviewed expect to save time and money by shopping online, with men more likely than women to avoid the traumas of the High Street crush.

When this cyber Christmas materialises, it will be bad news for the traditional retailers, many of whom still offer no facilities for customers to shop from the parlour rather than the pavement.

But it is an enormous opportunity for the entrepreneur with good products and fast feet. It is still possible to have a website up and running in a matter of days and cash in on the seasonal spend – if you have the nerve to do so.

A visit to www.mydomainname.co.uk might enable you to find an appropriate name for your site, particularly if you do not plan to be too subtle about your market.

Sitting on the shelf, for example, they have such gems as santaclaus.uk.net, xmas-present.co.uk and christmas.uk.net.

If you want other, more sophisticated names they may have these as well. But if you want to check whether a specific name has already been taken, then www.internetters.co.uk offers a free search facility.