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RETAILERS NOT SENDING PUSH NOTIFICATIONS: Although a mobile strategy is becoming a must for retailers — 77% now have a mobile app — only 31% of the top 100 online stores are currently sending push notifications. Retailers are missing a huge opportunity to engage more customers via push notifications, as 70% of mobile users have push notifications enabled on their phone and/or tablet. Push notifications alert someone when they have a new message in an app. Retailers could leverage the system by sending targeted mobile messages to consumers alerting them of flash sales, new coupons, or a new product. (OtherLevels)
TESCO EARNINGS: UK retailer Tesco reported fairly weak first quarter earnings yesterday, but online sales were one of the few bright spots in the company’s growth. Tesco’s like-for-like sales (or, same-store sales) in the UK declined just over 1% in the quarter, but online sales grew 11% over the same period last year. It marks the second year in a row that Tesco has reported overall loses, after a twenty-year streak of consecutive profits. In an effort to boost store sales, the company said it plans to “revamp” 650 of its 3,000 stores in the UK. (V3, Tesco)
PAYPAL LOOSENS PROTECTION POLICY: PayPal’s buyer protection policy in the UK has been extended from 45 days to six months after purchase. Many eBay sellers are unhappy with the extended policy, as customers could abuse the system to purchase an item, use it for six months, and then return it to the store, leading some consumers to treat a purchase as a rental. (eCommerce Bytes)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “So let me get this straight … eBay/PayPal believes that a company like Toys ‘R’ Us (who they defend to the hilt) is going to sell a toy, ship it to the buyer, and six months later after a child has played with the toy and broken it, PayPal is going to demand Toys ‘R’ Us refund the buyer?” — an eCommerce Bytes reader commenting on the above story about PayPal’s new buyer protection policy.
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RETAILERS RESERVE ‘.LUXURY’ DOMAIN NAMES: Luxury retail brands, such as Chanel, Gucci, and Cartier have all purchased ‘.luxury’ domain names in the past sixty days. The new top-level domain could be used as a branding device, letting consumers know that a retailer sells luxury goods. However, with all the top-level domains that already exist, none are more recognisable than ‘.com’ leading some to believe that ‘.luxury’ will not take off. (Luxury Daily)
PAYMENTS FUNDING HITS NEW HIGH: Committed capital to payments companies has hit a five-year high with 59 startups raising $US492 million during the first quarter of 2014, according to TechCrunch. The influx of capital would be cause for concern in many industries in which more money equals more competition, but payments is somewhat of an exception. While there is constant, intense competition in the space, there are also tons of partnerships. For example, payments processor Heartland Payments Systems has agreed to sell LevelUp’s mobile loyalty and point-of-sale technology to its merchant clients. (TechCrunch)
Boston-based LevelUp is hoping to make big inroads with retailers, announcing yesterday that it is reducing its processing fee from 2% to 1.95%, with the ultimate goal of eliminating processing fees entirely. Instead, the company intends to make its money by driving new business to merchants through targeted promotions, taking a 25% cut on every successful conversion. For retailers weary of swipe fees, it may be a welcome proposition. But with widespread adoption, LevelUp could take on the lucrative — and frequently reviled — role of gatekeeper between businesses and new customers. (Business Insider)
PAYPAL FINGERPRINT HACK: The new Galaxy 5S fingerprint authentication feature, which PayPal touts as its first biometric authentication for mobile, can be tricked using a simple wood-glue model, German security researchers claim in a YouTube video. “This is a known challenge to fingerprint-sensing technology,” PayPal’s head of ecosystem security, Brett McDowell, told the Journal. “But this is not a scalable exploit. It’s not something most people should worry about.” (WSJ)
GOOGLE’S COST-PER-CLICK DECLINES: Google’s first quarter 2014 numbers are out, revealing 26% growth year-over-year in paid clicks. However, the glut of clicks continues to suppress Google’s cost-per-click (CPC), which fell 9% year-over-year for the quarter. Many retailers use Google ads to drive shoppers to stores and websites. (Google)
For more in-depth analysis on Google’s CPC decline, check out our latest chart: Cost-Per-Click On Google Ads Falls 9% Year-Over-Year In The First Quarter
TV and Web retailer QVC says it will launch a local sales strategy for France in the second quarter of 2015. QVC already sells in other major European markets, such as the UK, Italy, and Germany. (Internet Retailer)
Square has hired Alyssa Henry to be its new lead engineer. Formerly, Henry was vice president of Amazon Web Services. (Information Week)
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