Posted by Abe Sauer on November 11, 2013 07:22 PM
Bigger than Cyber Monday (which notched up US $1.46 billion in sales last November) and bigger than China's National Day "Golden Week," China's Singles Day ("光棍节") also known as "1111" as it falls on 11/11, has become the the biggest online shopping day of the year—worldwide. This year's event was expected to break all previous records, and that it swiftly did.
In the first twenty minutes of the day's online sales going live, China's dominant commerce site, Taobao, recorded US$500 million in sales. By 10:00 am, Taobao had crossed US$2.46 billion in sales. By 1:00 pm, the sales frenzy passed last year's tally. By the end of the day, owner Alibaba (China's equivalent of Amazon) crowed that its Taobao and Tmall online shopping hubs recorded 35 billion yuan or RMB, or a whopping US$5.75 billion.
Not bad for a holiday that didn't even exist 25 years ago.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 11, 2013 10:18 AM
Can Amazon save the United States Postal Service? Well, no, but it can make the long-suffering government agency do something nobody could have possibly predicted—work on Sundays.
Starting this week, the USPS will deliver Amazon's packages on Sundays in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. The move comes ahead of the busiest holiday season, and as the USPS would end up eliminating Saturday delivery in order to save billions of dollars annually.
Now Amazon has worked out a deal with the US Postal Service, which lost nearly $16 billion last year, for the agency to use flexible scheduling with its current employees to get its goods to customers, according to a press release.
It’s a pretty sweet deal for Amazon Prime customers since UPS and FedEx don't deliver on Sundays. Amazon's plan is that the Sunday-delivery option will be introduced to Dallas, Phoenix, New Orleans, and other cities next year and be available throughout the whole year, not just at the holidays.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 8, 2013 08:12 PM
Google reportedly makes around $100 million daily by selling Google Ads to online businesses. Now the site is reportedly beta-testing a program that could deliver the Holy Grail of mobile connectivity. Using location data to track when consumers visit stores, Google will connect those visits to searches on Google via smartphones and deliver analytic proof that its mobile ads do work.
According to Digiday, “If someone conducts a Google mobile search for 'screwdrivers,' for instance, a local hardware store could bid to have its store listing served to that user. By pairing that person’s location data with its database of store listings, Google can see if the person who saw that ad subsequently visited the store.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 8, 2013 05:37 PM
J.Crew has crossed the pond to bring its own brand of preppy duds to London's Regent Street, opening its first flagship outside North America today. The 17,000-square-foot store houses separate men's and women's shops, as well as Crewcuts, the retailer's children's boutique. The London expansion will also include two other retail locations, one women's and one men's store.
Combatting an increasingly "promotional" retail environment in the US, the retailer hopes that greater brand awareness through physical locations in the UK will provide a needed boost. J.Crew has also opened 3 new retail locations in Canada recently, as well.
"London was an easy decision,” said chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler. “It is a place where people understand and respect the integrity of great style and design."
Indeed, finding a place among London's High Street stores may be a better fit for the increasingly upscale J.Crew brand, whose prices are in stark contrast to its fellow shopping mall tenants in the US, such as growing fast fashion brands like H&M. But with some product prices in the UK bumped up almost 40 percent, the retailer runs the risk of creating sticker-shock in Europe. "I've heard rumblings about it," Creative Director Jenna Lyons said, regarding additional taxes and duties associated with having an international location, "and we're doing everything we possibly can to keep the quality of the product as good as it can be and maintain the tightest possible price."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 8, 2013 04:14 PM
Book lovers have long had a love/hate relationship with Amazon. It’s nice to have access to the world’s books at the click of a button but it has come at the expense of the local bookstore, putting plenty—from mom-and-pop owned storefronts to major chains like Borders—out of business because they can’t keep up with the amount of stock and low prices of their online counterpart.
Now Amazon hopes to appeal to those same shops by asking them if they’ll sell Kindle e-readers in their locations, the New York Times reports. In exchange, the bookseller gets “a small payment on each sale and a commission on all e-books that the reader buys in the next two years.” Previously, Target and Walmart stopped selling Kindle products due to the effects of showrooming, so perhaps this outreach to smaller sellers hopes to make up for the loss of retail presence.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 8, 2013 12:22 PM
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: Cadillac finds success with Pitt... VW hopes for Xu hit, too... Online shoppers… the dirty business of infant formula... shark fin soup is out… iPad Air sells out… the American behind the baijiu mojito… kindergarten costs… Bitcoin busted… Jackie Chan farce… a supposedly fun thing the Chinese are going to do again and again and again... and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 7, 2013 11:53 AM
The omniscience of mobile devices has Macy’s adding visual recognition technology to its already robust mobile initiatives to help customers find and buy merchandise more easily and quickly.
“Retail has become a blur. And the blurring is 100 percent driven by technology,” commented Tige Savage, a partner at VC firm Revolution. “Are you at the store? Or is the store at you? And then there’s mobile, the store is in your pocket. The game is to satisfy demand wherever and whenever it is.”
Cutting through the e-tail clutter and focused on the next iteration of ‘gifting on the go,’ Macy’s Star Gifts app lets consumers scan a catalog, magazine ad or outdoor billboard for product information, tips and instant purchasing power.
"Visual recognition technology is the next evolution of our mobile strategy,” said Martine Reardon, Macy's CMO. "This new application of technology will assist us in delivering helpful and relevant content to mobile shoppers while at the same time providing them with the opportunity to get their holiday shopping done with ease."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 6, 2013 04:55 PM
What happens when commerce trumps tradition? A lot of angry consumers (and employees).
That's what major retailers Kmart, Macy's, Walmart, Kohl's and others are finding out as they continue to blur the line between the Thanksgiving holiday and the major shopping event that is Black Friday. Kmart has put itself in the line of fire as it recently announced that it will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open for 41 straight hours through 11 p.m. Friday. Sears, too, will open up at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open through Friday, while Macy's bowed under pressure and for the first time, will open its US stores on Thanksgiving evening. Last year, Target fielded a steady stream of backlash after announcing it would open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
The trend is no doubt a reaction to the sluggish retail market as brands fear the lack of spending will continue through the 2013 holiday season. Brands are so worried, in fact, that they are not only launching their holiday campaigns early, but also their special holiday deals. Walmart kicked off its online promotion last week—one month earlier than usual.
But their concerns aren't unfounded. A National Foundation for Credit Counseling poll found that 53 percent of shoppers plan to spend less on holiday gift giving this year than they did in 2012, with one-third planning to spend nothing and only 3 percent intending to spend more.Continue reading...