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retail watch

Thanksgiving Holiday Sales Are a Mixed Bag of 'Good' and 'Could Have Been Better'

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 2, 2013 04:52 PM

It’s tricky to find consensus on the success of this weekend’s spending, but one thing is a fact—Black Friday marked the first billion-dollar-plus day of this year’s holiday shopping season.

Accorind to comScore, consumers spent $1.2 billion online, with sales up 18.9 percent this year from last as retailers pushed their open hours from Friday to Thanksgiving day.

"Consumers appear to have responded to retailers' strong push to get them in the stores and online early this year," Shawn DuBravac, CEA chief economist and senior director of research, told USA Today. "The dust is still settling, but early indications point to a weekend of record-breaking online sales and a healthy appetite for key tech products."

ShopperTrak reports that sales were off 13.2 percent on Black Friday, but with more stores open earlier on Thanksgiving this year, and for longer hours, the combined sales of Thursday and Friday were actually up 2.3 percent over the same two days last year. Still, a more somber take from the National Retail Federation puts the weekend spend at about $1.7 billion less than in 2012. “There are some economic challenges that many Americans still face,” Matthew Shay, CEO, NRF, told the New York Times. “So in general terms, many are intending to be a little bit more conservative with their budgets.”Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Google Allows Consumers to Ease Into Mobile Payments with New Google Wallet Debit Card

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 21, 2013 11:28 AM

Google Wallet was ostensibly created so that consumers didn’t have to carry around their loyalty cards, credit cards, gift cards, and cash in their actual wallets.

But in a move that perhaps indicates that consumers aren't quite comfortable enough yet with mobile payments, Google has introduced the Google Wallet debit card. The card allows users to pay for goods at shops that accept MasterCard and withdraw cash from an ATM—all with funds from their Google Wallet account. 

The goal, AllThingsD notes, is to “mainly appeal to a subset of Google Wallet users who have had money transferred to them from another Google Wallet user and don’t want to wait a couple of days for the money to appear in their bank account.” For instance, users of Square Cash, the money-transferring spinoff of its mobile-payments parent, have to wait two or three days before funds appear in their account. There is also no monthly or annual fees associated with the Google card.Continue reading...


eBay Takes Cue from Pinterest, Etsy to Enhance Shopping Experience

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 23, 2013 03:32 PM

eBay is cleaning up its act and making the site a more personal space to shop with new features focused on curation of collections, and lending a more personal feel with user profiles and seller "storefronts." 

Borrowing from Etsy and Pinterest, users can now create product boards attached to eBay listings to follow those with like-minded tastes.

"We've got 500 million active listings at any given time. It's an amazing amount of inventory, but the fact is you've got to find the stuff you want," Richelle Parham, eBay CMO, told Advertising Age. "What's phenomenal about eBay is we make those moments of inspiration instantly shoppable."

A campaign geared toward informing consumers about the new features through online videos features curators including blogger Joy Cho.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

HGTV Magazine Mobilizes Print with Digimarc Share App

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 21, 2013 12:27 PM

As more print brands succumb to the realities of digital, consumers are increasingly looking for more ways to engage with content and have shareable experiences.

So in the November issue of HGTV magazine, readers will encounter the brand's usual "High/Low List" in an all-new way: with the ability to buy items right off the page and share their purchases with friend on social media via the Digimarc Discover app. 

Previously, MasterCard teamed up with Wired magazine to enable direct purchases from within the brand's digital edition.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

MasterCard Teams with Wired to Build Buying Power into Digital Content

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2013 07:07 PM

Readers often come across products while reading stories about them, garnering interest and and intent to buy—eventually. But now Wired magazine has teamed up with MasterCard to make the page-to-purchase process and instant shopping satisfaction. 

Starting with the November tablet edition of Wired, which becomes available Oct. 15, readers will be able to simply click on products within the magazine’s content and dump it into a single shopping cart for purchasing, according to a press release. MasterCard’s technology for the effort is appropriately named ShopThis! and MasterPass.Continue reading...

retail watch

Urban Outfitters Avoids Burnout with Focus on Mobile, Social Engagement

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 26, 2013 11:33 AM

How does a 42-year-old brand stay cool in a Millennial-driven, digitized consumer market?

That's a question that many retailers face today, but Urban Outfitters already has a plan, including a social-designed app and updated rewards program.

The app taps into a user's social networks and allows them to accrue rewards points for everytime they mention Urban Outfitters on Twitter or Instagram. The app also credits those who respond to in-app promotions with additional perks including first access to new merchandise, concert tickets and product sales. 

The new mobile-centric platform is a risky, but required gamble. “It’s extremely sensitive,” senior marketing manager Moira Gregonis told Bloomberg Businessweek. “I don’t think anyone really likes to be marketed to, and as a brand, we don’t want to be pushy.”Continue reading...

brand evolution

MasterCard Moves to Engage with Socially-Tied, Content-Heavy Newsroom

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 20, 2013 07:03 PM

MasterCard is continuing its transformation from a B2B company to a digital firm as it focuses on social interactions to better understand customers and clients, moving from consumer-facing conversation to outright engagement. 

After the successful launch of their Conversation Suite in May, “a real-time focus group” that tracks all mentions of MasterCard and the competition with results displayed on a giant 40 ft. LED screen, the financial services brand is launching The Engagement Bureau, the next iteration of the brand’s news sharing platform.

Along with a redesigned Cashless Pioneers Blog, the revamped newsroom will focus on creating a conversation place and publishing hub for the brand. The newsroom now features real-time tweets that populate at the bottom of the page where all news released by the company will be housed.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Russian Retailer Tries Shoppable Walls in Moscow Metro

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on September 3, 2013 10:46 AM

Another retailer is experimenting with the 'shoppable wall,' this time in Russia. Electronics retailer Media Markt has rolled out a mobile shopping display inside Vystavochnaya station in Moscow. The move follows similar actions by major US retailers, including eBay, Kate Spade, Peapod and more. 

The 18-panel display makes use of NFC and QR codes, enabling customers to shop the boards without the need for a special app. Consumers can scan an item on the look-a-like shelves, after which they are redirected to Media Markt's mobile site where they can select to have the product delivered for free to their home, or to pick it up in a nearby store. The installation does not include a mobile payment option—consumers can pay with cash or credit through the store or courier. 

"We decided not to develop mobile payment for the pilot. However, if the pilot proves to be successful, we plan to extend the payment possibilities: credit cards, PayPal, even Underground deposit cards," Bernd Guralczyk, CEO of Media Markt in Russia, told NFC World.Continue reading...

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