The coldest March for 50 years kept many shoppers at home, but strong online sales boosted Next’s sales by nearly 9%, leaving overall group sales up 2.2% despite poor performing shops. Shop sales slumped by 1.9% in the 14 weeks to 4 May.
The company said: “It is apparent that the poor March figures were down to an abnormally cold spring. Equally, the good weeks since mid-April have been boosted by pent-up demand from the previous month. We believe that neither period is indicative of any significant change in the underlying economy.”
Next’s online business is going from strength to strength. At the full year results in January, the company revealed online sales jumped 9.5% to £1.19bn, compared with in-store sales of £2.19bn. In a sign of how profitable the online business is for Next, pretax profits for online were £302.1m, compared with £331m in stores.
Despite the increase in online sales, the company, which has more than 500 stores, remains cautious about the fragile UK economy. It said: “We anticipate that the continuing decline in real earnings will depress discretionary spending for at least the next 18 months, if not longer.”
This case illustrates the value of a having a strong e-commerce element to businesses of all sizes. Adding e-commerce to sell your products online needn’t be an expensive option and could boost your business long term.
See the original article here: Next saved from seasonal slump by online sales
On Tuesday 23 April a tweet from Associated Press (AP) told the world that the White House had been attacked and Obama had been injured. The tweet was of course a hoax as the Twitter account had been hacked but it caused some temporary chaos. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 144 points between 10.07am and 10.09am, for example. Crude oil prices also briefly tumbled and the price of US Treasury bonds and gold futures spiked. Within minutes, AP disclosed that the tweet was erroneous and things returned to normal, with the Dow eventually rising 152 points for the day to close at 14,719.
The havoc was due to automatic trading systems that check news agency output and sell or buy according to the latest news. The hacking was probably caused by something as mundane as a human employee clicking on a link in a ‘fishing email’ and inadvertently passing on the details for the AP Twitter account.
See this article for more information: Fragile systems let hoax tweets make twits of us all
There are serious issues regarding the fragility of financial systems being so automated that they can get spooked by what was clearly a false story. However the original hacking of the account was something that has been a problem since the early days of online banking. PayPal users have recently experienced a huge increase in fishing emails and we have provided some advice on avoiding getting caught out by fishing emails in an earlier blog post.
Here are 12 Internet firsts that helped shape history:
1. The first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson to himself in 1971. “The test messages were entirely forgettable. . . . Most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP or something similar,” he said.
2. The first domain name ever registered was Symbolics.com on March 15, 1985. Now it serves as a historic site.
3. The first website was dedicated to information about the World Wide Web and went live on August 6, 1991. Here’s the url: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html.
4. The first picture ever uploaded on the web was posted by Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web) on behalf of a comedy band called Les Horribles Cernettes.
5. The first AOL Instant Message was sent by Ted Leonsis to his wife on Jan. 6, 1993. It read, “Don’t be scared … it is me. Love you and miss you.” His wife replied, “Wow … this is so cool!” Leonsis later became AOL’s Vice Chairman.
6. Joe McCambley ran the first banner ad ever online. It went live in October 1994 on HotWired.com and it promoted 7 art museums, sponsored by AT&T.
7. The first item sold on eBay (back then it was AuctionWeb) was a broken laser pointer for $14.83 in 1995. The man who bought it told founder Pierre Omidyar he collected broken laser pointers.
8. The first book purchased on Amazon was Douglas Hofstadter’s Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought in 1995.
9. The first sentence uttered on Skype was in Estonian in April 2003 by a member of the development team. It was ‘Tere, kas sa kuuled mind?’ or “Hello, can you hear me?” in English.
10. Mark Zuckerberg was the first person on Facebook with ID number 4 (the first three Facebook accounts were used for testing). The first non-founder to join Facebook was Arie Hasit (below), who is now in Israel studying to be a rabbi.
11. The first YouTube video posted was posted by co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo. It was uploaded on April 23, 2005 and has been watched nearly 10 million times.
12. The first tweet was written by co-founder Jack Dorsey on March 21, 2006.
See the original article here: The First Ever Email, the First Tweet, and 10 Other Famous Internet Firsts
The use of smartphones and tablet PC’s has expanded rapidly in recent years. More and more people are using these devices to view websites so you need to have a plan of action on how to cater for this type of potential customer.
There are three options available:
Most people using mobile devices could still view your website and however your website may not function correctly using a mobile device:
It’s actually quite straightforward to detect the type of device being used and divert visitors automatically to the appropriate mobile friendly or desktop version of your website. The problems arise in maintaining the two versions of your website and keeping them both up to date.
Other issues include the following:
A responsive design means that your content automatically adjusts to the size of your device. You have one website and one set of content, but depending on what device you display it on, it is automatically laid out differently.
Imagine if you had three columns of information on a desktop device. On an iPad, you may only display it in two columns, or one column on an iPhone. Any information that cannot be displayed gets moved below, therefore eliminating any scrolling to the right. A native responsive design would also be simplified in the first place and there are definite benefits to making your website less cluttered in the first place.
There are several advantages to this approach:
For most this approach would mean a redesign of your website but this needn’t be expensive or time consuming.
With 67 percent search market share worldwide (over 90% in the UK), when Google speaks, website owners should listen. Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice.
This is because responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device, which makes it easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Contrast this with a separate mobile site which has a different URL and different HTML than its desktop counterpart, requiring Google to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.
Additionally, Google prefers responsive web design because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site.
Take for example a mobile user who shares content from a mobile site with a friend on Facebook who then accesses that content using a desktop, which results in that user viewing a stripped down mobile site on their desktop. This creates an inferior user-experience, and because of the emphasis Google is now placing on user-experience as a ranking factor, this is essential to take into account with regards to SEO.
It’s likely that your returning visitors may use multiple devices to view your content. They may for example register on a PC but then use your site with a smartphone, tablet or PC. Responsive web design is recommended by Google and it allows one website to provide a great user-experience across many devices and screen sizes. For these reasons, responsive web design is the best option for your SEO strategy and promoting your business using the web. Contact Dinesh on 07941 686113 for more information or fill out our contact form.
Check how your website displays for different devices:
Criminals are using scam emails that purport to be from PayPal to steal money from unsuspecting victims. According to police reporting service Action Fraud, there has been a glut of scam PayPal emails since the 1st February 2013 which aim to lure people into passing over their details. One victim recently went public with her experience, explaining how an email that seemed to come from PayPal asked her to change her password. She then lost £1500 from her bank account, after filling in a form at the Criminal’s website, not PayPal.
PayPal says that their emails always address customers by their first and last names rather than “Hello” or “Dear PayPal Member”. Also if you do get an email from PayPal asking you to do something then go directly to the PayPal website and log in there.
Here are some tips for spotting fake emails:
We’ve been busy updating our portfolio with a selection of recent and updated web designs. Our own website has also been redesigned and is now responsive, which means it adapts to the device being used. The website is viewable and functional on PCs, Laptops, Tablet PCs, Smartphones and ‘Phablets’ (phones with larger screens, nearing small tablet pc sizes).
Visit our portfolio page now: web design portfolio.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer’s market share has now slipped behind Google Chrome after years of decline. For a long time, Internet Explorer (IE) has been beset by problems with security and compatibility leading to other faster, less bloated web browsers gaining ground. This is despite IE being bundled with all versions of Windows and users having to actively choose another default browser. Up until now, IE has always been the biggest single browser, however that is not the case any more as Google Chrome has finally taken that crown.
In effect IE has been the minority browser for years now, if you combine the market share of “the other three”, Chrome, FireFox and Apple’s Safari, and generally these are superior products combining greater speed with better security and compatibility with W3SC coding. As web developers, IE can cause issues with displaying websites, although the latest version 9 is an improvement on past versions.
So it’s for any website owner it’s important to check their website on all four browsers IE, Chrome, FireFox and Safari as there can be differences in how a website displays.
All business owners know the value of tracking where your customers first found you. Whether it’s Yellow Pages (or Hibu as it’s about to become), direct mail or display advertising, you need to know the cost of gaining a customer and what is generating the best ROI (return on investment).
This is no different when it comes to your website and one of the best tools around is Google Analytics, which also happens to be free.
While Google Analytics is a fully specified tool for professionals to crunch data about website performance (I’m about to start studying for a Google qualification in the subject!), business owners who are pushed for time can quickly get valuable information about who is visiting their website, how long they are staying, what pages they are visiting etc.
If you run a website, it’s imperative that you have Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari all installed. Whenever you make a change to your website, you need to check it loads correctly on all of these browsers. Even a website owner with perfect CSS will notice how certain aspects change in different browsers. By looking at your visitors and which browser they use, you can tweak your CSS to favour the main browser choice. You may also discover your site is popular with mobile users. If you find your mobile users increasing, would it be worth investing in a mobile version of your site?
Audience > Visitors Flow