Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 6, 2012 03:29 PM
Heading into last year's year-end holiday selling season, Amazon flexed its muscles and felt some backlash when it provided an app that allowed consumers to find lower prices on any products they found at competing brick-and-mortar retailers. This year, Amazon is finding plenty of new ways to corral consumers as the holiday seasons looms ever closer. One marketing tactic sees the e-tail giant expanding its premium Amazon Prime program. For an extra $8 a month, consumers can get free 2-day shipping, monthly Kindle rentals, and a selection of unlimited streaming video.
And back on the muscle-flexing front, the company just won a legal battle against Apple and such publishers as Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins in Europe, which allows the online retailer to sell online books cheaper than its competitors. Another battle keeping its lawyers busy is for the .cloud domain name, which Amazon wants to secure — but so does Symantec, ARUBA S.p.A., CloudNames AS, and Dash Cedar, among others.
But don’t think Amazon has completely ditched the brick-and-mortar world. Staples, the largest U.S. office supply retailer, is planning to install Amazon-branded lockers in its stores that would allow consumers to have Amazon packages shipped to their stores for pick-up. Amazon already has similar deals with a few grocery, convenience, and drug stores, including at select D'Agostino, Gristede and Rite-Aid stores in New York.
Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 01:55 PM
The textbook case of entrepreneurial success that is Sara Blakely's Spanx shapewear brand has just written a new chapter: on Nov. 2nd, Spanx opened its first standalone retail store in the U.S., at the Tysons Corner Center in Maclean, Virginia, one of three stores opening this fall in addition to the brand's first airport boutique, at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. As the brand posted on its Facebook page, Blakely told USA Today that the opening made her feel "excited, nervous, emotional" as it made the leap into its own bricks-and-mortar retail channel.
Blakely's meteoric rise from inspired but inexperienced entrepreneur to one of the richest women in the world has been one of the most interesting stories in business over the last few years. She started out shilling her first invention — a modernized, footless hybrid of a girdle and panty hose — from a folding table in the foyer of a Neiman Marcus and would ship online orders in white Office Depot envelopes from her Atlanta apartment, as Forbes recounts.
The 41-year-old entrepreneur continued tirelessly promoting her brand to the point where, today, Spanx products are sold in more than 11,500 department stores, boutiques and online shops in 40 countries. As Forbes puts it, Spanx has become the "Kleenex" of the category Blakely invented, with revenues just shy of $250 million last year. And her success made Blakely the world's youngest self-made female billionaire.
Even so, Spanx never had operated its own stores, but it now has the cash and variety of products, including Spanx for men, swimwear and apparel, that the timing couldn't be better.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 24, 2012 01:17 PM
Traditionally, Black Friday retail sales in the U.S., falling on the public day off that is the day after Thanksgiving, has been a bellweather for the holiday shopping season. But this year, retailers have been trying to preempt Black Friday in order to get a jump on holiday sales.
Target tried to literally move Christmas to July with its summertime "Bonus Black Friday" and "Summer Cyber Week" sales. Meanwhile, Amazon said it would turn Black Friday into a whole week of special deals beginning on Monday, November 19, the week of Thanksgiving. Walmart, on the other hand, may have something to fear, as employees threatened to blacken the chain's holiday sales with a possible Black Friday strike.
The good news for retailers is that consumers are apparently ready to shop. The majority of U.S. consumers, 51 percent, have already made their holiday shopping plans this year and will make purchases with money they have set aside specifically for the holidays, according to the just-released Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 18, 2012 05:52 PM
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney aren't the only ones who want the votes of women this fall: Chevrolet is also pursuing women for the new Malibu, and so the brand has enlisted designer Isaac Mizrahi to get some fashion-forward attention for a vehicle that hasn't been known for being on the cutting edge of couture.
Mizrahi has designed a preppy collection (in patriotic colors of red, white and blue) of Chevy Malibu-inspired clothing, Malibu Style. It's exclusively being sold on the LivingSocial deals website, with its six pieces ranging from a bright blue totebag to an oversized watch, at prices ranging from $78 to $298.
The New York-based Mizrahi has colllaborated in the past with the likes of Target and QVC, but this collaboration aims at getting women to take a closer look at a nameplate that otherwise might not get their attention.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 17, 2012 02:53 PM
The redesigned website for the Disney Store is an enhanced e-commerce channel for the brand’s toys, clothes, entertainment and packaged media. “The new DisneyStore.com delivers a magical shopping experience that guests can only receive from Disney,” stated Disney EVP Paul Gainer.
Part of that magic is the ability for shoppers to record and customize a “Disney Magical Message” video to send along with any DisneyStore.com gift purchase. Recipients receive email notification of a special delivery and when the gift arrives, a card provides a site URL and a personal ID where they can view their personal video.
Enhanced tools for sharing on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, via desktop, tablet or mobile have amped up the social shopping experience while an animation feature lets users interact with favorite characters and classic Disney films.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 16, 2012 05:16 PM
Gap Inc. chairman and CEO Glenn Murphy announced today that it has created a new global brand management structure so that its flagship Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands will each be led by a single executive with global purview beginning in fiscal year 2013. The move also creates a global innovation and digital strategy group, a first for the apparel company.
With more than 3,200 stores across its brands, the move consolidates North American, international, online, outlet and franchise divisions in an effort to improve market share. Gap has been expanding abroad and now has stores in more than 40 countries (compared with eight in 2006), but a word of caution from NASDAQ: “The company would be following the path of other apparel retailers, like Abercrombie & Fitch Co. But the road is a tricky one, especially right now due to economic conditions around the globe. Gap would do well to take a steady-as-she-goes approach.”Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 15, 2012 09:32 AM
It's been a tough ride for the United States Postal Service. Never mind the rain, snow, sleet, or hail working conditions — as the Wall Street Journal reports it's under tremendous pressure to turn around its financials and create a new business model:
Its use plummeted amid the rise of e-mail. In recent months, it has defaulted on two payments to the U.S. Treasury for a total of $11.1 billion for future retiree health benefits. USPS has been seeking legislation to cut costs by eliminating Saturday mail delivery and reducing its annual health-benefits payments. And now there’s this.
"This" refers to the USPS name being dragged through the mud, along with what's left of Lance Armstrong's sports legacy, during last week's anti-doping report in which the cyclist's former allies in cycling. For a time, however, back in the very late '90s and early 2000s, USPS workers were associated with a winner, when the USPS-sponsored cycling team, with Armstrong at the helm, brought home its first Tour de France victory in 1999 and just kept on winning for seven straight years. Now the Postal Service is hoping to get back on a winning streak itself.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2012 06:13 PM
Even though economies are still rough around the world, people everywhere still desire to own all sorts of stuff that they don’t really need. Facebook, which now has about a billion users, is aiming to help some of those folks get what they want by enabling wishlists, a popular feature on retail sites such as Target.com and Amazon.com.
The famed social network is now showcasing the products of seven different retailers and allowing some users to click on a “want” button that will put the desired item on a wish list for others to see, Reuters reports. This is part of a test of “Collections” functionality, that will also see if buttons marked “Collect” or “Like” will work better. In time, all of Facebook’s users and brand partners) will have access to the tool.Continue reading...