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E-Commerce is no longer a standalone channel for most retailers. What happens online is co-mingled with what happens in the store and through other shopping channels. Many forward-thinking retailers are revamping their business structure so that the e-Commerce executives can work closely with other-channel executives. Yet, the online environment continues to present unique challenges to merchants, around efficiency of page click-throughs, addition of interactive elements and improvement of the checkout process.

Zulily Launches Private Label Credit Card

  • Published in News Briefs
To kickstart the launch of its first private label credit card, zulily is offering one year’s free shipping for customers who sign up by midnight Pacific time on Friday, September 22, 2017. Shoppers must apply through a link in this Facebook post and be approved by zulily’s partner Synchrony Financial.…
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Innovators Point The Way To The Store Of The Future

The so-called “retail apocalypse” may have been debunked, but there’s still no question that the industry is in the midst of profound change. Retailers aren’t just looking for ways to tweak the shopping experience; many seek to reimagine every aspect of how they will interact with consumers. Pano Anthos, Founder and Managing Director, XRC Labs, brings a perspective that is both future-oriented and grounded in today’s retailing requirements. He has identified five key themes that are reshaping store-based retail:

Chinese Consumers Favor U.S. Retailers For Overseas Online Purchases

Just over half of consumers in five Chinese cities have purchased from foreign merchants/marketplaces during the previous year, and U.S. retailers are a favorite destination: 89% of shoppers “bought American,” according to a survey conducted by PayPal. That’s nearly twice as high as the percentage for the second-place country, the UK, which attracted 46% of shoppers, and third-place Japan, at 42%. Accessories (83%) and clothing (68%) were the product categories most frequently bought from U.S. merchants.

Lowe’s Seeks Macro Impact With Instagram ‘Microvideos’

Lowe’s launched an Instagram Stories campaign showing DIYers how to redecorate a vertical room through the confines of a mobile-friendly, full-screen video. On Sept. 7, the retailer unveiled the first “story” of the campaign, which includes 64 microvideos that total a combined 35 seconds. Lowe’s partnered with the ad agency BBDO New York to create the Instagram campaign. The campaign was born out of the annual Facebook Creative Hackathon, and is designed to take an engaging, light-hearted approach to project videos, while showing how consumers can quickly change a small space into a more functional area.

Whole Foods Becomes Lab For Amazon To Test Pricing Strategies

Even for a company that routinely generates big headlines, Amazon made quite a splash with its purchase of Whole Foods in June. The retailer got even more attention when it lowered prices on key items at the grocer-formerly-known-as-“Whole-Paycheck” in late August. But Amazon is after more than just a public relations spike, or even the 25% customer traffic increase that it generated, according to Bloomberg. What Amazon got from buying Whole Foods was a real-world testing lab for its pricing strategies. This strategy could be a boon for competing retailers, which have traditionally had difficulty tracking the multiple price changes Amazon is capable of making online. Moving its price changes into the open air of a supermarket, where they are by nature quite visible, could give competitors a clearer view of the e-Tail giant’s tactics.

Assessing The Value Of Retail Technology Investments

Across the retail industry, consumers are using a variety of channels to shop. We live in a world where consumers can browse for a great pair of sneakers on their smartphone during an evening show, buy it at their desk the next day and drive to the retailer's brick-and-mortar store to pick it up after work. As a result, retailers are actively working to address their customers’ buying patterns and behaviors. For example, Office Depot’s CEO, Gerry Smith, recently cited on an earnings call that the retailer is planning to leverage its brick-and-mortar stores to provide a competitive edge over online sellers, using their stores as extra distribution centers to respond more quickly to the changes in customer behaviors.

Bazaarvoice Launches Brand Edge Ratings Platform

Bazaarvoice has launched Brand Edge, a solution designed to enable brand marketers to quickly collect influential consumer ratings and reviews and distribute them directly to retail e-Commerce sites in the Bazaarvoice Network. To complement Brand Edge, Bazaarvoice also offers sampling services as an add-on option. For brands launching new products or trying to accelerate review collection, sampling clients can engage their own customers or the growing Bazaarvoice shopper community, Tryit, to trial new products and collect reviews.

Starbucks To Shutter E-Commerce Store Oct. 1

Starbucks is closing its e-Commerce site on Oct. 1, 2017, a rarely seen move in today’s retail landscape. The site sells coffee and coffee products, tea, syrups, drinkware and brewing accessories, and is currently operating a clearance sale until it closes, offering up to 50% discounts on select items. Products…
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Pitney Bowes Acquires Newgistics For $475 Million

As part of its bid to expand further into the U.S. domestic parcels market at scale, Pitney Bowes has agreed to acquire Newgistics for $475 million. The purchase is projected to be finalized in late Q3 or early Q4. To avoid disruptions during the holiday season, Pitney Bowes plans to operate the businesses as independent units into Q1 2018. Known for its returns processing capabilities, Newgistics provides a range of e-Commerce capabilities for nearly 500 retail clients. The privately held company is a workshare partner of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and processes nearly 100 million parcels annually.

To Fulfill By Amazon Or Not? Brand And Tax Implications Shared In Exclusive Q&A

With major brands such as Nike, adidas, Disney and Victoria’s Secret all selling directly on Amazon, it’s clear that more of these companies are considering bypassing third-party sellers altogether to reach the customer. This could pose a big problem for sellers’ profit margins, particularly as many of these companies rely on the power of these brands’ products to stand out from other marketplace sellers. As of Q3 2016, third-party sellers sold half of the total units on Amazon, indicating that the marketplace has grown popular along with the retailer. Now that brands are taking note of Amazon’s popularity, the third-party sellers that boosted marketplace sales must work even harder to build relationships with them.

Top 5 Strategies For Selling To Millennials

Capturing and keeping the attention of Millennial shoppers is the holy grail of brands and retailers these days. At 80 million strong, Millennials represent one quarter of the nation’s population and starting this year, they will spend more than $200 billion annually, estimates Ad Age.   But the battle for Millennial mindshare won’t be won with traditional sales and marketing activities. In today’s digital economy, competition is fierce. The sharing economy and on-demand services have given Millennials more channels than ever before to obtain information on products and services.

Contextual Commerce: Engaging Shoppers On Their Terms

We’re living in the age of the customer. Retailers recognize the need to enable consumers to shop on their terms — however they want, wherever they are. The introduction of contextual commerce has enabled retailers to seamlessly implement buying opportunities into everyday activities. Whether a shopper is clicking on a Buyable Pin, using Facebook Messenger or talking to their Amazon Echo while doing their weekend housework, shopping is becoming more engaging because it’s happening at the moment of interest and intent to buy, in an environment that makes the experience very natural for the shopper. We’ve already begun to see forward-thinking brands starting to embrace contextual commerce — mostly in the form of hardware and mobile messaging apps. Specifically, messaging apps have exploded in popularity, eclipsing the top four social networks in active users as of late 2015. What’s more, mobile messaging apps have higher retention and user rates than most mobile apps, and the majority of messaging app users represent the most crucial demographic for brands, advertisers and publishers. With no additional infrastructure required of the consumer, contextual commerce can provide stellar customer experiences as well as interactive customer support.

Barnie’s Coffee Adapts To Changing Employee Roles With HR Automation

Barnie’s Coffee has undergone significant transformations during its 35-year-history, evolving from a traditional coffee chain with more than 200 locations to a wholesale and e-Commerce channel with multiple business units but just a single brick-and-mortar café, in Winter Park, Fla. These changes brought new types of employees into the company, such as salaried office workers, factory floor packagers and part-time storefront workers. To handle the human resources challenges that many growing e-Commerce businesses face as they hire new employees, Barnie’s Coffee onboarded HR service provider TriNet.
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