How to stop Amazon eating your lunch

Worried about Amazon’s UK imminent grocery launch? Buyapowa’s work with the likes of Ocado and Tesco demonstrates there is an answer…

So, that’s it, then. It was fun while it lasted but, the grocery sector is set to go the way of Blockbuster, Borders and Comet - crushed under the steel jackboot of Amazon. Pack up the peas, put away the pasta; when Bezos lines you up in his sights, there’s only one possible outcome. And it ain’t no picnic.

Except… no. Wait. Just like Pep Guardiola coming to the Premier League or Bruce Willis’s best-forgotten singing career, Amazon are completely unproven in this environment. And, while they definitely will attract a bunch of shoppers keen to try something new, instant success is far from a sure thing.

That said, Britain’s supermarkets can’t just sit back and hope for the best. They need to use the one thing Amazon don’t have to shore up their advantage, and that’s their existing grocery customers. They’ve got tens of millions, Amazon have precisely zero. But it won’t be enough simply to enter into a price war, hoping to gouge extra pennies


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Social in 2014 is just like the web in 1996

If social media existed in the '90s

Take a look at your favourite brand's Facebook page. It's pretty mature, isn't it? It's well managed, it's active, those guys really know what they're doing. And it's not just Facebook - look at the way businesses use Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and a million other tools. Social has definitely come of age.

And then step back and put all this into context. It might seem like we've reached an end-point, like we've gone as far as we possibly can but, in truth, we've only just begun to scratch the surface of social's potential. How do we know that? Because it's happened before - with the birth of e-commerce.

Back in the early to mid '90s, the only corporates who saw a business use for the web were the marketing guys. Excited by this dynamic new platform, they were the ones who established websites for their brands. But the new tech didn't automatically deliver a new way of thinking and, consequently, these websites were little more than online versions of the print brochures and corporate resources they were already producing, coupled with some touchy-feely fun for the customers.

ASDA's website in 1996 offered everything from jobs and recipes to java games to entertain their customers. The one thing it didn't offer, though, was the ability to buy things. The UK supermark ASDA's website in 1996 offered everything from jobs and recipes to java games to entertain their customers. The one thing it didn't offer, though, was the ability to buy things.

Meanwhile, pioneers like Pegasus (who set up the world's first online travel agency, and now power giants like Ebookers, Orbitz, Lastminute and Hotwire), eBay and Amazon had identified an infinitely greater potential for the web - the ability to sell direct to customers, any time day or night, anywhere in the world, disintermediating traditional retail, shaving overheads to a bare minimum, reinventing shopping forever. These pioneers invented a whole new channel - e-commerce - and the reward for their innovation was 20+ years of dominance. Brands and traditional retailers are still paying the price for their tardiness back in the '90s, and you only have to look at what's recently happened to the likes of HMV and Jessops to see how costly that price has been.

The same thing will emphatically happen with social. We're still in the mid '90s when it comes to how brands interact with their customers via social. It's a toe in the water - something for marketers to play with. Just like the brochure sites of old, corporate social outposts collate information for their customers, they engage them with fun distractions (competitions, polls, Pinterest boards, pictures of fluffy kittens to share), they stick a flag in the sand for their brands.

But the future will only arrive when social expands beyond the social media we're playing with now, or even the social media marketing people assume is cutting edge. The inevitable, essential future is Social Commerce - shopping where we socialise, buying things with our friends, accessing offers and exclusives via viral networks, influencing the price and nature of products with our collective, social voice.

The question, though, is whether brands and retailers will make the same fatal mistake they made 20 years ago and allow someone else to corner the market before they can get so much as a foot in the door. There's still time to act, but the next six months are going to be fascinating to watch.


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Analysis: How Amazon’s App Store Can Use Co-Buying To Overtake Google & Apple

Analysis: Amazon’s App Store Is On The Cusp Of Overtaking Google & Apple

If phones were cars, the screen would be the dashboard, the CPU would be the engine, the battery would be the gas tank. And the apps? The apps would be the wheels. Without apps, you’re going nowhere. With them, the world’s your oyster.

That’s why the global app market is already worth $27 billion – a massive figure that’s set to grow by 30% within the year. That’s why the world’s most popular app, Facebook Messenger, has over 700 million users. And that’s why each and every one of us has about 22 apps on our phones (in fact, if you’re an Apple muncher, that’s likely to be more like 37).

You’ll know Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, but our own favourite is Amazon’s Appstore for Android – a modest player comparatively, but one with massive potential and some genuinely innovative advantages over its behemoth rivals. From its Test Drive feature (where, thanks to Amazon’s cloud computing grunt, you can try an app out on your PC before you buy it on your phone) to that 1-click checkout with 14 years’ worth of ready-to-roll customers. Plus,


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We all agree, right? Affiliate marketing is starting to suck.

We all agree, right? Affiliate marketing is starting to suck.

It's amazing how candid people can be when they don't realise (or don't care) thatyou're listening. Here's a direct quote from a chap called Chris Rempel who works as an affiliate marketer. We're not saying it's representative, but... well, just take a look:

"Remember that most people still honestly believe – and follow – the bullshit myth about 'great content' and 'great user experience'. Exploit this for all it’s worth by outranking them with swaths of cheap, shitty links – and passable content."

Charming, innit? If you'd like to read more of this stuff, feel free to click the quote and explore his website. He's a bit of a hero to black hat affiliates, and he's made a lot of money out of doing this stuff - so, hey, he must be doing something right.

But not for you. And wasn't that supposed to be the point of affiliate marketing?

Let's back-track a little. Back in the mid-'90s, some very bright sparks (among them Amazon - lest we forget how the big A rose to such prominence) realised that the entire internet could serve as retail outposts for their online stores. Why spend a fortune advertising then converting on your site when,


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Daily deals: why they need to die... and STAY dead!

Daily deals: why they need to die… and STAY dead!

Ugh. Here's something we thought we'd seen the back of: the daily deal. Oh sure, Groupon and its legion of clones limp on, increasingly irrelevant after alienating merchants and customers alike with unreasonable trading terms and uninspiring products. And the Daily Deal's equally undead relative, the Voucher Site? Well, they're somehow managing to hang on in there, too - eking out a meagre existence by feeding on crumbs of affiliate revenue.

But these things really are the bargain bin of the Social Commerce world. In fact, let's be honest: they're not actually Social Commerce at all. When did you last tweet your friends to say: "Just picked up an amazing voucher for a 30% off meal at Plastic Pizza. You should get one too! #GotNoShame".

So we were amazed (and a little troubled) to see a respectable giant like Barclaycard dipping its toe into this particular stagnant pool - something they've done with their Bespoke Offers site, which claims to offer personalised, daily-deal-style savings to anyone who fancies getting involved. When it launched, industry pundits like Moneysavingexpert.com founder Martin Lewis were quick to point out the worrying lack of exclusives: a large number of the deals on offer were


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