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amazon-dash-stick.jpgWe all know writing shopping lists is dull, which is why many of us don't, only to get back from the supermarket with none of the stuff we did need and just 27 bottles of wine and a load of confetti and quiches instead. Well Amazon aims to fix all of that with its Dash barcode-scanning magic stick.

The online retail giant has unveiled the 6" device that allows you to scan the barcodes from groceries - or just tell it what you want - then it'll connect directly to the web via Wi-Fi and order everything you need through its own same-day delivery service, called AmazonFresh.

Some of this functionality is already available through Amazon's smartphone apps, but the Dash makes planning and shopping easier than ever. So the big question is, can the Dash revolutionise shopping in the same way the Kindle revolutionised reading?

Now before you start getting excited, for now the device is only available for AmazonFresh customers based in a select few cities in the states. But knowing Amazon if it proves to be a success it'll roll out to the rest of us pretty quickly.


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This Easter, augmented reality company Zappar is teaming up with Asda to bring shoppers an in-store Easter creature hunting experience.

At Asda stores this weekend there'll be stickers attached to the floor that you can "zap" with the Zappar app. Once zapped they'll reveal a world with one of the Easter Bunny's friends hiding inside. The aim of the game is to find all of these creatures to then win a free gift.

The Easter Adventure Hunt will be taking place from 10am to 4pm on Saturday the 12th of April in 400 stores across the nation.

Using augmented reality to enhance shopping experiences can seem a little gimmicky nowadays, but this latest partnership will hopefully prove to be a great way to keep kids entertained while their parents are doing the weekly shop.

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Once it was a mecca for gadget hunters - England's very own rival to the legendary Tokyo' shopping area Akihabara.

Now though it appears that Tottenham Court Road is no longer a place to grab hi-fis and TVs as yet more electronics stores on the road pull the plug.

The latest to go is Shasonic, which is closing its three Tottenham Court Road stores in London - Shasonic Megastore, the Sony Galleria and the dedicated Samsung brand shop - this week.

Owner John Shah told industry website ERTonline, managing director of Shasonic, described it as, "a sad day".

He said: "Next week will be the first week in 41 years that I'll end up on Tottenham Court Road feeling empty - I've been associated with the street for so long. It's the end of an era."

Shah acknowledges too that although the main reasons for the closure is that the landlord has other plans for the stores the internet has effectively made trading in the area very difficult

'Tottenham Court Road was all about choice, the knowledge of the staff and the competiveness of the street, which was what attracted people. With the internet, that has all gone and footfall has dropped dramatically."

He added: "Tottenham Court Road has changed beyond all recognition. It used to be the Mecca for electronics - the Akihabara [Tokyo's electronics retailing district] of London. It will die - it's pretty much dead now - the remaining operators are being edged out and I think the majority of them are desperate to get out. They're all hanging in there because of the liability of their leases."

Interestingly, one of the three stores that closing, the Sony Galleria, was Europe's flagship Sony Centre, and has remained Europe's highest-turnover Sony Centre.

udozithumb.pngOnline shopping is great, but unless Amazon drones become a reality some time soon, we're still restricted to having to wait until tomorrow for our stuff. But what if you want something a bit quicker?

Udozi is the app that is trying to solve this problem. It's been out on the iPhone for over a year now - and has today launched on Android. The idea is that it's like every other shopping app - but will tell you which shops locally have whatever you're looking for in stock.

It's a great idea - and something I've wanted for ages. You simply plug in your location, what you want and whether you're walking or driving and it'll search:

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Then bring up the most relevant results:

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Before offering details on the product and how to get to the shop:

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But does it work? The company claims to have 160 national chains and independent retailers on board, having opened their inventories - including the likes of Toys R Us, Maplin and Evans Cycles.

I had a go with the app from central London and results were certainly a mixed bag. "PS4" turning up nothing, and "iPad" only returning accessories - all listed from the same particular shop. Even a search for "trousers" returned only four pairs (!) from the same obscure shop - so there's clearly a long way to go before the coverage is quite there. If they can get all of the big highstreet retailers on board (think all of the shops on Oxford Street), they'd be sorted and it could be genuinely useful... but now unless you're looking for an Evans branded bike-pump, it leaves something to be desired.

Still - give it a download, as that will mean the presumably small company will be able to boast more users in order to get the bigger stores on board - which will mean a better service for everyone!

hmv-logo.-logo.jpgWhen news that HMV might be going into administration hit the land of Twitter everyone started moaning about their completely useless gift cards, but now it seems the state of the UK high street might not be quite as dire as we were all expecting, because they'll be accepted as a form of payment again from tomorrow.

Many were really angry that HMV had continued to sell its gift cards over the Christmas period for clueless friends and relatives to pick up and give to those they didn't know well enough to buy an actual present for. But it seems it's not just wasted money now that Deloitte, the company helping HMV to slowly die, has realised it can keep accepting them for the time being. We just hope you all didn't throw yours out in a fit of rage...

Despite the sad news it seems it's not all doom and gloom for HMV, as a number of other retailers and even music labels are considering snapping it up for a good price.

[Via Tech Radar]

ipad shopping.jpegIt might all be depressing and grim on the UK high street at the moment given the deaths of Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops, but according to recent research, online sales continue to soar thanks to the popularity of mobile and tablet devices.

According to stats from IMG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, online retail sales exceeded expectations in December, with a month-on-month growth on November of 12% and a year on year growth of 17.5%. The data also shows that consumers spent an estimated £78bn at online retail stores in 2012 and IMRG/Capgemini is forecasting that the online retail market will grow by a further 12% in 2013, with consumers spending around £87bn online.

Sales through mobile devices - including tablets - were stronger than ever, with over 300% growth from 2011 and 2012. As mobile devices proved popular as gift choices this Christmas, it seems likely this growth will be continued throughout 2013 as well.

Chris Webster, the Head of Retail and Technology at Capgemini, said:

"The big stand out is mobile commerce and its growth in the last 12 months has been staggering. The developments in the technology and the steps taken by retailers to improve their mobile services have seen a shift from browsing, to a fully fledged commerce site integral to our shopping experience.

"Visits and sales from either a smartphone or a tablet device are nearly four times higher than last year - we are reaching a point where we are spending longer on our phones shopping than making calls."

[Via Tech Digest]

moble-phone-woman.jpegMore and more brands are making it super easy to buy their products from mobile devices and pumping money into ecommerce. However, new research would suggest that we're already a bit sick of the endless cycle of getting stuff on the move, purchasing the wrong size or type or colour and having to mess around sending things back afterwards.

A new study, commissioned by shopping inspiration app Udozi, has found that although we're all really keen to browse through products with our mobile devices we actually still like to go into real life offline shops and try things before we commit to buying them.

According to the research, more than 41% of shoppers would prefer to buy products offline and 26% of mobile owners and 35% of tablet owners have got into the habit of browsing online before going in stores to make their final purchases.

Alan Gabbay, Founder of Udozi, commented:

"In today's digital age, constantly connected consumers have come to expect access to their favourite brands and retailers when on the move. But even though a large chunk of online Brits now own Internet enabled devices that they can make purchases from, mobile and online alone simply can't compensate for the in-store shopping experience, as the majority of people still want to 'try before they buy' and speak to experts in-store."

Here at Shiny Media HQ we can certainly buy into the fact that browsing while you're on the move then checking you actually still want to buy the product in real life is how we prefer to shop, but guess it's also dependent on what you're buying. A cheap pair of gloves while you're waiting for the bus? Yes please. A designer bag or holiday? Probably not.

The research was commissioned by Udozi and 2,105 adults were polled in conjunction with YouGov.

[Image via Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com's Flickr]

If you dare to venture out into the savage wilderness that is the UK high street at this time of year then you'll be in for a treat, smacked in the head by bargain hunting old women, elbow barged by angry mums with all of their kinds in tow and then forced to stand in a queue for what feels like weeks.

It's no surprise that many of us (most of us actually) have chosen to do our Christmas shopping online this year, but which apps are out there to help us find the best gifts quickly, easily and safely?

But remember: Before you start downloading, clicking and buying make sure you're going to get your gifts in time for Christmas.

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Both Starbucks and Paypal are pioneering new ways to let you pay for food and drink with your mobile phone, many retailers are now allowing you to tap your credit card on a contactless reader rather than entering a pin and the world of tech just can't shut up about NFC technology. So will we all be paying for things with taps, swipes and mobiles rather than cash, cards and PIN numbers very soon?

Well we're really not sure, but we do love the slightly different approach from Watch2pay, because instead of being preoccupied with adding contactless payments to our credit cards and mobile phones, the service gives us that same kind of technology inside a wrist watch.

Developed from a partnership between watch manufacturer LAKS and MasterCard, Watch2pay allows users in the UK to tap their snazzy new watch against a contactless reader, which you'll apparently find in more than 70,000 UK retailers, without the need to hand over cash, a card or even enter a PIN number.

Yes they're very clever, but obviously we're excited about the fact they come in a range of bright and zingy shades too, there are currently eight different colours available and we have our eyes on the red one.

It's hard to say whether the whole contactless payment revolution is going to be groundbreaking or disappointing, especially when a load of colourful watches are at the forefront here in the UK. The safety issue also worries us a bit, so if someone took our watch or phone they'd have access to our wallets? Isn't that the reason PIN numbers were invented? Maybe we're just being a bit old-fashioned and like many we're not willing to part with our wallets and pennies quite yet.

Do you think contactless payment is the way forward or have you got a firm grip on that lovely leather wallet of yours?

The watches are available from Watch2pay for £99.

signing-contract.jpgIt's tempting to sign your life away to a lengthy mobile contract to get that shiny new phone, but luckily logic often overtakes greed and we learn to patiently wait for the latest gadgets rather than spend a fortune on them every month (most of the time anyway).

However, this year research has found that a record number of Brits are planning to sign up to mobile contracts themselves so they can then get a "free" gift to give away as a Christmas present.

The study conducted by phone comparison website GoodMobilePhones.co.uk, found that 18% of the 2,063 questioned planned on taking out a mobile contract so they'd be able to give loved ones a much better gift than they could usually afford. Unsurprisingly 41% of those considering signing up to a long contract had their sights set on an iPad 2.

We're not sure whether this scheme is cheap, cheeky, an example of heartless self-sacrifice or just a little sad...

A total of 2,063 adults aged 18 or over responded to the online study carried out by GoodMobilePhones.co.uk.

[Image via KOMUNews]

dear-santa.jpgWe've all been there, you're given a present by a friend or relative and it's nice, you're really grateful, you smile and say thank you, but really you know it's going in the bottom of a cupboard or it's being wrapped up next year for someone else. But will a new social bookmarking tool mean the end of unwanted presents, or will it just confuse frantic Christmas shoppers even more?

Whishin is a new website and social bookmarking tool, which allows you to create wish lists of items you've come across online and then share them with whoever you please.

Just like the bookmark buttons you can get with Delicious, Pinterest or Tumblr, Whishin can sit in your bookmarks bar ready and waiting for you to find that perfect gift that you want to send to your wish list.

Charlie Rowan, the founder of Whishin, said:

"Now everyone in your family can have access to what you actually want this year. Christmas has always meant endless lists which either get lost or get you confused. With whishin there is no more forgetting where you saw that special gift, or cutting and pasting the web link and sending to loved ones. By using the whishin.com bookmarking tool you can now store all the details in one place at a touch of a button and share with friends and family to leave a few heavy hints! Children can even make a special list for Santa."

For those who don't already use the likes of Pinterest or Delicious, we imagine Whishin will be a great tool to keep gift ideas together in one place. If you can persuade relatives and friends to take a peek it'll be even more effective, and not just at Christmas time either, it could well change the way we buy for birthdays and other celebrations too.

However, we do wonder whether Whishin and similar wish list sites and apps take the magic out of Christmas a little. Shouldn't it be about quirky, heartfelt gifts and not just buying you loads of the stuff you've been coveting? Or are we being blinded by the haze of Christmas and not being realistic enough?

ebuyer-icon.jpgToday is Cyber Monday, seen by some as a brilliant day to buy discounted products online and others as a silly marketing ploy to take advantage of frantic shoppers post Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Regardless of whether you hate it, love it, or just see it as a crazy phenomenon from the US, many retailers are offering hugely discounted products to keen shoppers looking to get a bargain before Christmas. One such retailer is popular gadget website Ebuyer, which launched a Cyber Monday sale today offering customers many items for only £1. Yes £1.

All kinds of products, from cameras and games through to laptops and PCs were offered for £1, which sounds a little crazy, but also pretty damn good for bargain hunters, right? Well no, because Ebuyer very naively assumed its website was up to the job of supporting all of the frantic £1 orders when in actual fact it crashed pretty quickly.

Chances are the outage isn't down to anything malicious, it's just a problem caused by the sheer number of people trying to access the crazily low deals. Come on Ebuyer, it's not rocket science. You massively reduce expensive items to just 100 pennies and don't think to rent out a crazy amount of server capacity to compensate for the insane stampede of traffic?! Shame on you.

Anyway, if you're feeling angry about the crash go check out Ebuyer's facebook page where disgruntled (but surprisingly humorous) shoppers are sharing their thoughts and are bound to cheer you up.


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Shopcade is a new Facebook application, which allows users to shop and then share their recommendations among their networks.

The Shopcade model certainly makes sense, a recent study by YouGov found that more than half of UK social media users aged between the ages of 18 and 54 are influenced by their friends and family online before they make a purchasing decision. Ahh we're such sheep, aren't we?!

So based on the fact we're heavily influenced by our online networks, Shopcade allows users to browse more than 40 million products and then create their own personalised Shopcades full of product recommendations. Users can then browse recommendations, see what their friends like, view recent trends and then buy what they like the look of.

But wait, Shopcade isn't just about helping people out and being nice and considerate out of the goodness of your heart, if your friends buy the items you've recommended, you'll get a percentage of the sale. Sure this gives people an incentive to use Shopcade and I'm sure most people wouldn't mind that their mate gets a bit of cash if they genuinely want the product. But, we worry that adding commission into the scheme could make people spam their friends, recommend a lot of things they don't care about or just be a general nuisance.

However, you could argue that at least Shopcade is puting the power into the hands of consumers as apposed to big brands. Nathalie Gaveau, founder and CEO of Shopcade.com, said:

"Shopcade leverages the power of Facebook to the benefit of consumers and brands alike. It turns the 'social network' into the 'social shopping network' allowing 800 million socially-connected people to shop, share and be rewarded all in one place. Rather than brands dictating what people should buy, Shopcade empowers people to share products that actually matter with each other. Now the customers are in control."

Whether people use Shopcade for good or just try to bully their friends into buying products, it's a very interesting model, which combines online shopping and social media in a way that puts normal customers at the core. Just remember to use it nicely, otherwise even your nearest and dearest will be forced to unfriend.

ebay-image.jpgOver the past few years we've seen QR codes everywhere, on food, clothes and even gravestones. Yes, we said gravestones.

Well this Christmas, we'll be seeing hundreds of them on all kinds of clothes, gifts and furniture items, as online marketplace eBay intends to use them to make shopping even easier in its festive pop-up shop.

The brand is launching a new Christmas boutique in London at the beginning of December, which aims to give stressed shoppers the best of both worlds, the in-store browsing experience with the selection, deals and distinct lack of queuing we've become accustomed to online.

The new boutique will stock a range of items and each will have its own unique QR code. Shoppers then use their phones to scan these QR codes to buy without the fuss, queuing, tills and even bags, because once you've purchased something it'll get delivered straight to your door. Goodbye awkward tube journey with 5,487,823 bags and no air!

eBay's new shopping concept seems like a brilliant idea, it gives us peace of mind that the items we're buying actually look good in real life and it's popping up (sorry) just in time for Christmas. However, just like buying things with a store card sometimes doesn't feel real, buying things by swiping your phone around like you're a little kid playing shop might not seem real too, so be careful you don't overdo it.

The store is open from the 1st to the 5th of December at 34 Dean Street, London, W1D 4PR.

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