Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2011 11:33 AM
Retailers have been grousing for years about the disappearance of consumer dollars to the online environment. And the proliferation of smartphones has made things that much more difficult as consumers in the stores looking at products can immediately look to see if they can get better prices online. Amazon.com is taking it one step further, giving brick-and-mortar retailers one more thing to complain about.
The Seattle-based online-retail powerhouse is launching a promotion on Dec. 10 that will attempt to get shoppers in retail environments to buy the products they are seeing in the store via Amazon at a discount, according to Direct Marketing News.
To qualify, consumers need to use Amazon’s Price Check mobile app to check out the price difference between something at the store and Amazon. “To compare pricing, consumers can scan a product's barcode, take its photo and speak or type its name via the app,” Amazon told DM News.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 8, 2011 05:44 PM
Way back when, ABC’s Wide World of Sports featured an intro that intoned about how the show would cover “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” which was partnered with the famous image of Slovenian ski jumper Vinko Bogataj sliding off the edge of the ramp wildly.
That’s what it must feel like to be a Wall Street trader on some days this fall as stocks have moved about wildly in search of whatever the “new normal” will be.
Online-coupon provider Groupon has certainly felt that heat as it had an IPO this fall that came out of the gate at $20 a share and quickly zoomed up to $26.11 by the end of the day. The ecstasy was short-lived, though, Groupon’s stock slid off the ramp all the way down to $15 and has regrouped and climbed back to more than $22. The company’s financial folks haven’t needed to use nail clippers for a bit, no doubt.
Groupon’s main competitor, LivingSocial, was gearing up for an IPO as well, but word this week is that it will be put off for the time being and LivingSocial will put its energy toward raising $400 million (based on a valuation of the company at $6 billion), Bloomberg reports. And $176 million of that has already been raised from both existing and new financial backers. Not too shabby.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 8, 2011 05:04 PM
Groupon Inc. went public in November and finished up its post-IPO quiet period by proclaiming, loudly. The group deal purveyor sent its never-shy CEO, Andrew Mason, out to complain about how the media is always negative.
"The anecdotes that get picked up in the press are examples of plane crashes just being more interesting and more media-worthy stories than the safe landing," Mason stated at the recent Credit Suisse Technology Conference, according to the Chicago Tribune.
While Mason said that Groupon “maniacally” surveys its merchants to be sure that it is providing value to them, it also is still “figuring out what sort of capacity is appropriate for various merchants,” the Tribune reports.
Indeed, the company has been on the outs with merchants such as those participating in a lawsuit claiming illegal altering of contracts. Groupon also appears to be expanding from its small business roots, partnering with major brands such as KFC in Hong Kong, just as rival LivingSocial (now seeking $400M in funding) has done with McDonald's.
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 2, 2011 04:14 PM
Walmart has just released Shopycat, a standalone Facebook app to make shopping, holiday and everyday, smarter and stress-free (hopefully). Shopycat mines social data to recommend items from Walmart.com, Walmart stores and other partner sites including RedEnvelope, Barnes & Noble, NBC Universal and ThinkGeek.
“We’ve been working on how to add a social layer on top of e-commerce. One of the key areas where we thought we could make a difference is in gift-giving … we thought if we could take a person’s interests and ‘likes,’ that are expressed on Facebook, and tie those with a vast product catalog, then we could make gift-giving much more enjoyable,” commented Anand Rajaraman, head of WalmartLabs, to Venture Beat.
Shopycat currently passes users to other websites for purchase, but by this time next year, shopping will be done directly on Facebook, as Ravi Raj, VP of product for WalmartLabs told VB.Continue reading...
let's make a deal
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 29, 2011 12:01 PM
Swagbucks, a website that rewards users with virtual currency for online actions, is on track to hit $25 million in revenue this year. Its four million users garner “Swag Bucks” for playing games, watching videos, shopping online and searching the web.
They also got in on Cyber Monday with the announcement: “Black Friday may belong to the store, but Cyber Monday belongs to us. In addition to continuing to run our killer Black Friday Deals, we’ll have additional sales, something new for SBTV and, of course, we’ll be announcing the winner of $2500 in Amazon Gift Cards from our Swagbucks Pays For Your Holidays, and giving away more prizes, of course.”
Major brands including Target, Wal-Mart and Gap are paying when users click on ads or redeem coupons using the Swagbucks toolbar. Calling itself “the web’s premier digital dollar,” the online rewards destination has the distinction of being founded by a rabbi.
CEO Josef Gorowitz embraces his background in Talmudic scholarship and runs his business according to the Biblical idiom, “Treat your fellow man as you would treat yourself,” according to Bloomberg.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 29, 2011 10:05 AM
It might seem that a TV show about a gang of uninhibited bikers living outside society's rules and expectations would be free from the quest for fulfillment through consumption, let alone merchandise to clad fans of the series. But it turns out that FX's Sons of Anarchy has provided a platform for a hybrid retail experience and boundary-pushing retail app that mixes original products from the show with goods from other brands.
And just because the gang onscreen makes its money on the black market doesn't mean FX can't make a little scratch on the legitimate one. Heck, Sons of Anarchy even joined in Cyber Monday.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 27, 2011 09:01 PM
Cyber Monday, the first Monday after American Thanksgiving, is the busiest online shopping day of the year thanks to promotions by brands (such as Verizon, above) touting web-exclusive specials to lure (panicked) holiday shoppers. This year's Cyber Monday tally is expected to reach $1.2 billion in sales, topping last year's $1 billion Cyber Monday take, according to comScore analyst Andrew Lipsman.
As for the just passed Black Friday web sales, comScore reported Sunday that U.S. retail e-commerce spending rose 26% on Nov. 25th compared with the same day last year. The firm reported $816 million in online sales for the day, up from $648 million.
"Despite some analysts’ predictions that the flurry of brick-and-mortar retailers opening their doors early for Black Friday would pull dollars from online retail, we still saw a banner day for e-commerce with more than $800 million in spending,” commented comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it’s clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels."
Another web-only special returning year: in advance of Cyber Monday, U.S. officials have reportedly shut down more than 130 websites selling counterfeit goods by seizing their domain names.
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 14, 2011 06:06 PM
Amazon is ready to lose a whole lot of dough — potentially, millions of dollars — on its Prime loyalty service in order to beat the likes of Apple and Walmart in the same marketplace, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The short-term loss for long-gain strategy appears to be the plan, as the Journal reports Amazon will be adding more titles and features to the service that costs $79 annually to the consumer.
As it battles Apples iTunes and app stores, Prime now offers on-demand movies and a lending library for Kindle owners in addition to the shipping discounts it started with, the Journal notes.Continue reading...