Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 24, 2013 03:36 PM
Google is on the move, expanding its two-month old Google Shopping Express, its challenger in same-delivery service to eBay Now and Amazon Prime. The service is rolling out in the San Francisco Bay Area and beta tester sign-up is now open.
Mashable reports the delivery service has "been doing well enough and worked out the kinks to expand a little more." The expansion will include more products from retail partners, improved 360-degree images for product browsing and a bigger fleet of third-party couriers. Despite the success, the service faces some steep competition. “Google faces tough competition from more established businesses and startups in the space—not to mention the fact that Google has a mixed track record when it comes to commerce,” notes Mashable.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 20, 2013 06:22 PM
Salt Lake City-based startup Needle offers a twist on social commerce, utilizing brand loyalists as shopping guides for curious consumers.
Its workforce, a team of brand experts that operate like freelance customer service reps, earn an hourly rate up to $12 and have a hosted profile on the retailer's website. “They love the products, they want to be in the loop on what’s new,” founder Morgan Lynch told brandchannel. His current workforce numbers about 20,000. “They’re contractors, who can come and go, but we have an extensive on-boarding process—that’s why I think there’s a difference between crowdsourcing and a distributed workforce.”
The service was inspired by Lynch's own shopping experience, in which he struggled to find reliable recommendations online for a product, and instead ended up buying the item in-store. The frustrating experience led to Needle, which gives "consumers the ability to find the perfect item online at the right time."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 20, 2013 05:28 PM
Folks have plenty of options when it comes to streaming online movies and TV shows: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple's iTunes come to mind, but Target apparently thinks the space has room for one more.
The retailer is reportedly testing a beta version of Target Ticket, a TV and movie-streaming service with access to 15,000 titles.
It will also provide “new releases, classic movies, and next-day TV,” the beta site claims. Right now, it’s just being tested on Target’s own employees, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports. This joins another employee-only beta test currently underway that allows people to order products online and pick them up at the store.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 16, 2013 01:49 PM
Having conquered the internet, video and now launched into music, Google is moving into shopping through YouTube's new "channel gadget."
"To shorten the path to purchase and translate video views to sales, today we’re introducing a new channel gadget on YouTube that will enable consumer goods brands to connect consumers directly with retailers throughout the entire YouTube experience," Google wrote in a blog post. "This new channel gadget will enable shoppers to seamlessly move from browsing how-to videos and featured products to finding which retailers carry them, check availability, compare prices and make a purchase, all with fewer clicks than today."
Google's first client is Unilever’s Tresemmé, which already has a robust YouTube channel in place featuring celebrities and style setters. Now users can click on the products in demo videos for purchase information, a perk that will only appear on brand channel pages.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 8, 2013 06:26 PM
Target Corp’s Cartwheel, released in public beta today, combines social networking and discounts in the retailer’s latest move to lure traffic to its physical stores and away from online rivals.
As brick and mortar retailers struggle for relevance, fighting the growing trend of “showrooming,” they’re turning to social media to attact consumers with unique deals. Target worked with Facebook for about a year on Cartwheel, whose tagline reads, "A whole new spin on saving," where shoppers can choose from hundreds of deal items such as Target's own Threshold home goods as well as brand goodies like M&Ms candy and Coca-Cola soft drinks.
The Cartwheel launch includes 700 new offers, and claiming any one generates automatic News Feed posts on Facebook unless the user turns them off.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 6, 2013 02:39 PM
Amazon launched its Android app store in China over the weekend, becoming the first Western technology company to offer paid-for Android apps in China. (Google’s Chinese store offers only free apps.) The update effectively launches a new version of Amazon's app store built in Chinese in the form of an Android app, along with a Chinese-language site for developers.
It’s a promising alternative to Google Play for Chinese developers like Tencent and Sina. TechCrunch notes that Amazon's app store provides easier access for developers, who previously had to sell through third-party stores, a global customer base and an "attractive revenue sharing model."
Currently, there are home-grown services that offer paid apps to the Chinese market, the worlds largest in mobile, but many local versions are pirated or have malicious software issues. The Amazon store promises "quality and safety testing" and may very well be the prelude to the launch of its Kindle e-readers in China.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 29, 2013 07:02 PM
Kraft Food Group’s Crystal Light is open for business online as the brand launches its first e-commerce platform, Shop.CrystalLight.com. As more consumers shop online, niche brands like Crystal Light are establishing beachheads for easy access, mindshare and money.
"For years we have heard for some of our most loyal fans that they want easier access to the flavors they love, especially Crystal Light Pure," said Adam Butler, Senior Brand Manager for Crystal Light in a release. "This new e-commerce platform enables us to make a wide variety of unique flavors and varieties readily available to fans anywhere in the country."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 24, 2013 07:48 PM
While the United States Postal Service is floundering, it apparently still has plenty of cash to fund a hefty contract that ensures mail is transferred between US airports. FedEx announced that it had won the bid to fly Express and Priority mail for the next seven years to the tune of $10.5 billion, despite some competition from UPS.
The new contract, which will begin in October, continues the previous relationship between the USPS and FedEx, and ultimately saves FedEx from another dip in profit and stocks.
“This contract win is a sorely needed shot in the arm for FedEx,” Justin Yagerman, an analyst at Deutsche Bank in New York told Bloomberg. FedEx shares have fallen 15 percent since its 2013 high on March 15. If that business had gone to UPS, the stock would have surely seen continued decline. Last year, FedEx received about $1.62 billion a year from USPS, while this new deal will see it receiving $1.5 billion. While the margins are lower, things could have been much worse.Continue reading...