Internet Story: 14 Dec 1998
New Sainsburys Site Launched this week is the new site from supermarket giant Sainsburys. The re-vamped site allows you to join their Sainsburys Reward Card loyalty scheme and to check your points online. You can also win 10,000 points by registering online. Goods can be ordered online in certain select areas, but the one great thing that they have missed is the opportunity to do a dummy shopping run. This lets a potential shopper get used to the "feel" of online shopping without the commitment to buying or having to be in the catchment area. See Woolworths Homeshop in Australia for a good example of this (and throw in a slab of VB for me whilst yer there, cobber!).
Check out more UK stores online below...
Internet Days of Action Although it may not have been a roaring success, the two Net Boycotts called for yesterday and the one today, may be a sign of things to come. The actions were in protest of two things; the criminalization of encryption technology and the extortionate fees we pay the telecoms companies for call charges. Though I can see no justification at all for restrictions on crypto, the second has a double edge as mentioned previously. Enough money can be made from local call charges to run the entire UK internet service provision off the back of it for "free". See Chris Nuttall's article at the BBC. Check out the following sites:
Next Desktop Revolution It's starting... the move to the Internet Desktop. There are several signs, the latest of which is the announcement by Netscape that it will launch its Custom NetCenter, a portal service that is customized for corporates, everything from news feeds to email and calendar scheduling - for use on their own branded sites that NetCenter will host. Custom NetCenter is currently being beta tested, by companies like Mazda North America Operations, and is expected to be generally available in the 1st quarter 1999. The idea is simple - create a specific portal site for employees (any suppliers, etc.) of a corporation, the content is specifically designed and geared towards that corporation. Prices are expected to range between $3 and $10 per user. See PC Week article for more details. Check out Jakob Nielsen's latest article for what he thinks should be part of this Internet Desktop paradigm; in-built micropayments, quality search facilities, navigation-oriented authoring, internet scripting language.
Gift Search Engines Another concept in specific search engines comes in useful when you need to buy a gift but just can't think what to buy for that partner who has everything. Several sites are popping up now with gift searches just a click away. Check out Macy's Gift Wizard and Amazon Books in the USA - a similar service has been set up by the Amazon UK operation.
Online Customer Loyalty While the Internet allows for consumers to easily float from one retailer to the next, a growing amount of evidence shows that they don't. Brand and convenience are playing the same key roles online as they do in the offline world. A survey released last week found retailing pioneer Amazon.com Inc. the favorite among online book buyers, even though it ranked only 10th when it came to overall cost, according to Gomez Advisors, the Concord, Mass., research firm that conducted the survey. As in the non-online world, once the reputation for quality and customer service has been established, prices can be raised, within limits. Other loyalty schemes such as Netcentive Inc.'s ClickRewards offer repeat customers airline frequent flier miles and other incentives. The bad apple in the barrel for retailers, however, is Internet shopping agents. These simply allow shoppers to quickly scan a large range of stores for the best price, all without the shopper browsing.
Another UK online store ChristmasGift.co.uk - unfortunately no logo worth putting here, but it sells clothing from the Arcadia Group of companies; Burton Menswear, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Hawkshead, Principles, Racing Green. Topman, Topshop, SU214, are also online companies under the Arcadia Group banner, but not represented on this site.
Andrew Stringer, © Pendle.Net Ltd, 1998