Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 1, 2014 11:41 AM
Showrooming, the scourge of retailers, has been replaced by webrooming—a welcome trend. But many retailers are not taking full advantage of the shift in consumer behavior and are losing sales by not providing adequate inventory resources online.
“Most luxury brands are at least several years out from putting in place the back-end investments that enable inventory visibility across channels,” said Claude de Jocas, lead researcher of a new report from L2. “As a result, brands have ignored omnichannel for the time being, relying entirely on the efforts of their distribution partners."
Surveying the initiatives of 100 retailers across apparel and accessories, beauty, big box, department stores, home, sportswear and watches and jewelry to drive customers “from clicks to bricks and back again,” L2 found that “some of the strongest plays in luxury have been from vertically integrated retailers that are incentivized to drive consumers into their own boutiques, such as Tiffany & Co., which offers robust online appointment booking to view engagement rings in-store."
Luxury Daily seconded, noting that "in-store sales guided by digital will likely surpass the 50 percent mark this year, and mobile will be a major engine of that growth."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2014 11:33 AM
Zappos is once again testing the outer limits of customer service by introducing AskZappos, a digital assistant that will locate any item—even if the company doesn’t sell it.
In beta since June, the service is now being promoted on the brand's mobile homepage. It's the latest from Zappos Labs, so much a part of the company’s ethos that every employee trains for one month at the Las Vegas call center to ensure they understand the entire e-commerce process. To use AskZappos, consumers can text, email or tag a photo with #AskZappos on Instagram to activate the personal shopping assistant.
"It's really easy to create those amazing experiences on the phone, but that's really hard to do online," said Zappos Labs Director Will Young, referring to the brand's all-star customer service reputation for its website. But with hopes of engaging customers in new ways, Zappos is looking to capture increasing desktop e-commerce traffic so consumers can shop and have questions answered without ever picking up the phone.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 28, 2014 03:02 PM
Amazon is cementing its title as the king of e-commerce with its latest gambit: a customizable 3D printing store.
Capitalizing on the "maker movement," Amazon's latest online shop offers customizable jewelry, tech accessories, toys and even bobbleheads—all of which can be customized by size, color, material and design aspects—as well as products from partners like Mixee, Scupteo and 3DLT
“The introduction of our 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail—that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience,” said Amazon Marketplace Sales director Petra Schindler-Carter, according to TechCrunch.
The success of 3D printers on Amazon Supply, a wholesale site for businesses, led to Amazon’s 3D print offering and once again puts the brand at the forefront of the e-commerce industry.Continue reading...
Posted by Alicia Ciccone on July 24, 2014 11:41 AM
Retail is ripe for innovation, but are consumers really hungry for it? The latest Omnichannel Shopping Preferences study from A.T. Kearney seeks to answer that, but the findings may surprise the droves of brands making huge investments in digital commerce.
The survey of 2,500 US shoppers found that physical retail stores play a crucial role in online purchasing habits, with 55 percent of shoppers preferring to use both physical stores and online retail throughout the shopping journey.
The study makes for an even greater argument for omnichannel retail. "A strategy based on leveraging the appeal of the physical store supported by digital is the best formula for capturing the maximum number of sales, building sustainable customer loyalty, and creating opportunities to cross-sell," study co-author Michael Brown said.
While online-only brands like Birchbox continue to experiment with physical retail spaces, traditional retail brands are also finding fun, innovative ways to combine the ease of online shopping with the brand experience of brick-and-mortar.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 23, 2014 01:49 PM
Whoever tries to hack into Target’s data next is going to have a lot more to dig through. The retailer's new app, In a Snap, aims at improving its foothold in the mobile shopping space by allowing users to take pictures of Target products in print (magazines, catalogs and newspapers) and then simply click to buy.
The free app, which uses advanced image recognition technology, allows consumers to have their product shipped or held for them at a local store—all part of Target's big push to ramp up e-commerce and click-and-collect efforts as it continues to feel the pressure from Amazon, Walmart, and fast-fashion retailers. In a Snap joins Target's other app, Cartwheel, which serves as a coupon-serving shopping companion.
“It’s a single-purpose app that will appeal to Millennials and college students or anyone not averse to downloading an app,” Target spokesman Eddie Baeb told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The app's launch is timed to Target advertising running in Real Simple and Domino magazines, part of the brand's back to school campaign for college-aged consumers with a new registry and web video series, Best Year Ever, that features YouTube stars helping students with dorm room makeovers.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 17, 2014 03:04 PM
Visa has now got its own Innovation Center. It was opened in San Francisco Wednesday to try to bring the company’s software developers, clients, and other tech folks “to jointly develop the next generation of commerce applications," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The first product coming out of the Innovation Center is the Visa Checkout mobile payment system, which hopes to give PayPal, Isis and Google Wallet a run for the money, and replaces Visa's V.me brand that was introduced in the US in 2012.
"It's a recognition of the fact that the credit card is becoming a digital card, and innovations are occurring through digital means," said Jim McCarthy, the brand's senior vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships, to the Chronicle. "Basically, we're opening up our network to software developers to use our capabilities and assets, and to help consumers to take advantage of them."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 20, 2014 01:07 PM
Walmart has a present challenge and a future challenge, and the giant chain is trying to step up to both with some new initiatives. So, on the first official weekend of summer, say hello to an even earlier holiday promotion season at Walmart, who is also toying with the idea of a drive-through to pick-up online orders from Walmart.com.
The most pressing challenge, of course, is to get American consumers to come back to Walmart stores immediately and spend money there with the sort of growth that had been reliable for decades. Walmart’s growth has been stymied lately by a number of factors, including sluggish US consumer spending overall, and the chain’s own mistakes such as allowing too many items to be out of stock.
So this year, Walmart is attempting to get a better start on the holiday season by hosting what Advertising Age called the chain’s first showcase for long-lead magazine and gift-guide editors of the merchandise that it expects to be top sellers this holiday season—media features that typically don’t close until July.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 11, 2014 07:01 PM
Marrying digital commerce with bricks and mortar has been a challenge for retailers since Amazon showed up and changed the game. But after years of trial and error and new innovations in online and mobile shopping, brands have finally found a way to make it work.
Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second-largest grocery chain, is now following rivals Tesco and Asda into the world of click-and-collect, enabling customers to purchase online in the morning and pick up their items at locations in seven different subway stops on the way home from work. In addition to providing more convenient options for its one billion-pound online business, there are benefits for its partner, too. Transport for London, aka the London Tube, is hoping to bring in £3 billion ($5 billion) by renting out spaces across its 270 stations to the grocer.
And in the US, Target is hoping to catch up to competitors by making big investments in digital, including Store Pickup, its own click-and-collect service that allows shoppers to order goods online and then pick them up in-store the same day.Continue reading...