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eBay Sellers Greeted with Access Denied Message

Some eBay sellers have been encountering an Access Denied error message that keeps them from listing, an intermittent problem that is proving frustrating for those who encounter it.

Warning: On the Brink of Canadian Mail Disruption

Packages being sent to Canadian shoppers or sent from Canadian sellers could become stranded in the event of a postal disruption, which seems increasingly likely as a war of words heats up this week between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

eRated Shuts Down eBay and Amazon Feedback Widget

eRated is shutting down its tool used to display feedback from eBay, Amazon, and Etsy in one handy widget that sellers could display in their listings - even inside their eBay listings.

Amazon Announces Two More Fulfillment Centers in UK

Amazon said it is expanding its logistics network in the UK in part to support FBA sellers. It will add two more fulfillment centers in the UK in 2017, one of which will be equipped with advanced robotics.

Login to PayPal App with a Literal Touch of Your Finger

PayPal updated its mobile app which now allows customers to login to Android devices with fingerprint authentication.

eBay Warns Sellers of Likely Sales Tax Vote

eBay warned sellers that Congress could pass online sales tax legislation once it returns from summer recess, calling the lame duck session a high risk period for passage.

Amazon Stays in the Hunt for New Products

Amazon is finding ways to attract new and innovative products to its marketplace by reaching out to entrepreneurs and product curators. The latest partnership is with geek shopping site Product Hunt.

US Postal Inspection Service Funds TV Program on CBS

The US Postal Inspection Service used funds from asset forfeiture and fraud-awareness funds to contract for a TV program airing on CBS.

Alternatives to PayPal and Square with Latter's New Rates?

With Square invoice rates going up, this online seller asks if there's an alternative besides PayPal?

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Issue between eBay and Paypal communications

eBay UK product pages are crashing constantly

eBay is not populating tracking numbers

Can't sign on to account, can't reach phone support

USPS tracking numbers not active hours after scanning them

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The Vintage Village

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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash. Independent News for Online Retailers.

Posted by Sabrina Purvis on March 17, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)


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Ecommerce News for March 17, 2014:

Click on headline to read entire article

eBay UK Runs Free Listing Promotion through Tuesday

eBay UK is running a free listing promotion through Tuesday, but is limiting which sellers can participate - read more to learn if you're eligible for the latest promotion.

Driving Traffic to eBay and Etsy Listings through BannerPlay Ads

BannerPlay helps marketplace sellers reach more online shoppers through its advertising service. The company offers a Cost Per Click ad platform and its app is integrated with both eBay and Etsy for ease of use.

Amazon to Open Fourth Fulfillment Center in Washington

Amazon plans to open another fulfillment center in Washington, bringing the total to four warehouses in the state. The company will use the warehouse to fulfill small items including books, electronics and consumer goods.

eBay Runs Auction Promotion with Gallery Plus Thrown In

eBay is running a free-listing promotion for auction listings with Gallery Plus thrown in at no extra charge. Read more to see what's excluded and who can participate.

Will Amazon Prime Fee Increase Affect Merchant Sales?

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ShopRunner Offers Free-Shipping Alternative to Amazon Prime

ShopRunner is making a special limited-time offer to members of Amazon Prime to join its own free-shipping program for free for one year and vows to keep its next year's renewal rate at $79 for those who sign on. The announcement came on the heels of news that Amazon Prime was raising fees from $79 to $99 per year.

Amazon UK Knocked for Password Security Process

About two-thirds of the top 100 ecommerce sites in the UK, including brands like Amazon and Tesco, don't stop login attempts after ten incorrect password entries. That's a security no-no says password manager firm Dashlane in a recent study.

EcommerceBytes Blog:

eBay Sellers at the Mercy of USPS Tracking

AuctionBytes Blog:

Contest: Has Your Pet Ever Messed Up Your Inventory?


90-Day Returns, Neutrals, Defect Unknowns Worry Sellers

Talk To Us / Letters to the Editor:

Sellers Still Smarting over eBay CEO's 'Noise' Remark

Ecommerce Press Releases:

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Ecommerce News from Around the Internet:

Discover Artisan Food Makers on Etsy-Like Site - Somerville Beat

eBay continues Pacific Northwest growth - in Portland - Geekwire

EcommerceBytes Classifieds:

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Dinner and a Movie

Posted by Sabrina Purvis on January 8, 2011 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

To Upgrade From Dirty Carpets and Tubs of Popcorn, Theater Chains Try Full Menus, Seat-Side Service



The AMC Menlo Park 12 Cineplex in Edison, N.J., is trying to woo viewers with meals and more spacious seating. (Bryan Derballa) As Hollywood churns out ever more attractive big-budget films, laden with 3D and other special effects, little has changed at theaters, where audiences can find worn seats, stale popcorn, and overpriced candy.


Under pressure from viewers as well as movie-industry executives, the country's theater chains are trying to win back moviegoers—with food. Audiences at a growing number of theaters can order such dishes as chinois chicken salad rolls or limoncello-tossed shrimp. More middle-of-the-road fare is also available, like cheeseburgers and chicken caesar salads. Seats in these so-called "in-theater dining" cinemas are big and plush. Lobbies are luxurious, with art on the walls and mood lighting. Popcorn is often complimentary and a full bar is de rigueur.

Theater chains hope the new style of film-watching—which has previously been the realm chiefly of small independent theaters—will help boost the number of moviegoers after years of flat attendance. Other recent efforts to get more people in the doors include offering reserve seating online and more movies in 3D. But in-theater dining represents one of the movie-theater industry's biggest bets to expand its static audience size.

"I am one hundred percent sure that these theaters are the future of movie-going," says Jeffrey Katzenberg, an industry veteran who once served as studio chairman at Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS - News) and is now chief executive of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (NasdaqGS: DWA - News) "These new theaters really up the quality of experience because they require a high degree of service that movie theaters have lost."

A few years ago, a handful of such theaters existed in the country. Now, the National Association of Theatre Owners estimates that the U.S. plays home to roughly 300 to 400 cinemas with restaurant service out of roughly 5,750 total theaters. Industry analysts predict that number could double over the next few years.

Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC - News), the largest U.S. theater chain, has opened five premium locations as part of its new Cinebarre line, a combined movie theater and restaurant concept the company began in 2007. IPic Entertainment, which acquired Gold Class Cinemas last year, recently opened its eighth dine-in cinema in Scottsdale, Ariz., and plans to open another five to six theaters a year. Gerry Lopez, AMC Entertainment Inc.'s chief executive, says he can envision converting 10% of the company's total theaters, which now number about 375, into ones that offer in-theater dining.

Horror movies don't play quite as well in the format because consumers apparently don't enjoy eating while watching blood and gore, theater executives say. Listening to others chewing, and smelling their food, might also be a turn-off for some moviegoers, although the wide seat spacing may help to minimize any annoyance. And the premium prices may seem high, but movie-chain executives say in-theater dining is a more time-efficient way for some people to spend an evening out.

Keeping the multiplex clean is harder than it looks, theater executives say. Tight time slots between showings, and large auditoriums, sometimes confound efforts to keep floors and seats clean.

At dine-in cinemas, seats typically come in pairs of two, with wide aisles between couples to allow waiters to navigate in and out the theater during screenings without blocking views of the movie. Many guests order during the film by pressing a small button near their chairs. Some theaters have small tables in front of the seats; others feature folding trays that extend across the seat for easy eating. Many dine-in theaters have some age restrictions; some don't allow anyone under 21 years old.

Ticket prices vary. Some chains, such as AMC, charge a flat fee of $10 or $15 above the usual price of a ticket but include that amount as a credit toward food purchases. Others, like Gold Class Cinemas, price tickets between $17 and $29 just for a ticket and then charge for food separately.

Some theaters offer alcohol, luxury seats with armrests and footrests, blankets, pillows, or moist towels before the film begins—as well as chocolate mints afterward. The actual auditoriums are often significantly smaller than those of the vast multiplexes, featuring fewer than 30 chairs, along with assigned seating, digital sound and super-wide screens

Casey Mead, a 21-year-old student at University of California, Los Angeles, drove with his girlfriend last month to Gold Class's location in Pasadena—a small theater with six screens and a dimly lit lounge decorated with modern art—to view the latest installment of the "Harry Potter" series. Mr. Mead says they were willing to pay extra for the higher-end experience. "We never go to the movies normally because for the same price you could buy a DVD and not have to sit in a dirty theater to watch it," he says.

AMC's Mr. Lopez says the company's research shows that most customers don't mind the higher cost of dine-in theaters. And he says it's not simple or cheap to turn theaters into full-service restaurants. It requires kitchens, on-site food preparation, chefs and trained waiters who can navigate in the dark during a screening.

"We had to play with the menu to figure out what worked best for eating in the dark—you can't have a dollop of ketchup fall on your skirt. And china plates are too noisy, although composite works great," he says.

Arlene Evangelista, 69, was upset when she visited AMC's renovated dine-in theater in nearby Edison, N.J. The retired legal secretary wanted to catch "The Fighter"—the new Mark Wahlberg movie about boxing—during the Christmas holidays but was surprised to find a $10 surcharge for the dine-in experience. Instead, she turned around and went home.

"I think it stinks!" she said while walking out of the Menlo Park Mall that houses the theater. "This place used to be a date place. It was so nice. I think it's terrible to charge 20 dollars for a movie, especially in this kind of economic climate. What about families?"

Movie attendance has remained sluggish over the last decade. Last year, North American movie theaters sold 1.35 billion tickets, down about 5% from a year earlier and down about 6% from 1.44 billion in 2000, according to the box-office division of But higher ticket prices helped boost box-office sales to $10.57 billion last year, down slightly from a year earlier but up about 36% from 2000.

It's too soon to know whether dine-in theaters will be profitable. Theater chains note that profit margins on concessions, such as popcorn and candy, are far higher than on ticket sales. Half of a ticket sale represents profit for a theater, compared with 85% from the sale of concessions. Executives hope the dine-in theaters will also benefit from higher food margins, although not as high as for snacks.

Movie-industry executives say theaters have done little to innovate even as studios continue to spend lavishly on movie budgets. To make matters worse, consumer spending on DVDs, which for years propped up the studios' bottom lines, has plummeted more than 40% since its peak in 2006, according to media-tracking firm IHS Screen Digest, making the studios more reliant on profits from the theatrical window.

Hamid Hashemi, iPic Entertainment's chief executive and founder, says dine-in theaters, although still a niche market now, could become mainstream especially as audiences clamor for a higher-end experience. "The movie-going business has always been one size fits all, but now we are realizing that if you give people amenities, they are more than willing to pay for them," he says.

Write to Lauren A. E. Schuker at [email protected]