retail watch

For Retail Brands, a Blend of In-Store and Online Can Get the Sale

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...

mobile commerce

Target Snaps Up Mobile Shopping Innovation with Image Recognition App

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...

mobile commerce

Visa Taps Morgan Freeman to Help Rebrand V.me as Visa Checkout

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...

retail watch

Walmart Jump Starts Holiday Sales Engine with Toy Teasers, Drive-Through

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...

retail watch

For Retailers, E-Commerce Meets In-Store with Click-and-Collect

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...

retail watch

Target Takes Aim at On-the-Go Millennials with Mobile Commerce Push

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 6, 2014 05:12 PM

Beleaguered big-box retailer Target, in efforts to rise from the ashes of a disastrous data breach that affected as many as 70 million customers, is redoubling efforts to reach out to Millennials with digital initiatives to capture dollars and mindshare on mobile.

"Target has traditionally been a store where people want to go in and feel and touch the products," Jim Porçarelli, chief strategy officer at Active International, told USA Today. "It's been a destination." But as more time-constrained consumers opt to make purchases from behind a screen, Target is tasked with reimagining its retail strategy into an omnichannel experience. 

While Target has been innovative in mobile, including its shopping companion app Cartwheel and its namsake app, both of which ranked in Internet Retailer's Top 25 mobile commerce apps list, it is behind competitors like Walmart when it comes to cross-platform experience. “It was very much a static experience," said Casey Carl, Target's president of omni-channel strategy and experiences. "It required too many clicks to get where you wanted to go."Continue reading...

retail watch

Proximity Marketing Spreads as Safeway, Duane Reade Test iBeacon Tech

Posted by Dale Buss on May 30, 2014 11:02 AM

Long past are the days when privacy advocates merely worried that GM’s pioneering OnStar service could track your car wherever you traveled using GPS technology. Now, an increasing number of retailers and other brands are using new “beacon” technology to track consumers to within several inches of their locations in stores in order to push promotions and encourage spending. 

There are lots of other potentially disruptive uses to come from Apple’s iBeacon and similar technologies though as brand transparency and consumer privacy become top of mind.

Already, for instance, Safeway has been testing an iBeacon installation that automatically offers discounts to shoppers who have downloaded the supermarket chain’s “just for U” loyalty app and walk into the store—at the exact moment when consumers are ready to shop.

Similarly, Duane Reade, the Walgreen-owned East Coast US pharmacy chain, has launched a program to fit its New York stores with iBeacons that delivery weekly ads and coupons to opted-in smartphones. “iBeacons help remove some of the obstacles of engagement and facilitate customer interaction,” Tim MacCauley, mobile commerce director for Walgreen, told Adweek.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Brands Elevate Mobile Commerce Experience to Capture Luxury Shoppers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 28, 2014 10:38 AM

Extreme couponing isn't just the theme behind a TV reality show. As mobile commerce becomes a mainstream channel for retail transactions, more than half of US consumers will redeem a digital coupon or code at least once in 2014. That number is projected to rise to over 82 percent by 2016, according to Emarketer. 

Among retailers, luxury brands are leveraging consumers’ desire to use their smartphones in-store for mobile commerce, according to L2, a New York-based luxury consultancy. Brands like Nordstrom, Piaget and Louis Vuitton have translated the desktop e-commerce experience to mobile, allowing consumers to access reviews and stock and sale information via geolocation capabilities, and have simplified the mobile checkout process, Luxury Daily reports

But what differentiates mobile commerce from the brick-and-mortar experience are value add-ons. “Affluent consumers are willing to convert on mobile, but they expect an experience that goes above retail," said Jason John, Gilt's VP of online, mobile and social marketing.Continue reading...

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