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Period: February 15, 2015 to March 1, 2015
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Beacons Offer Advertisers A Sophisticated Way To Gather Consumer Intelligence

The tiny Bluetooth transmitters known as beacons offer marketers a new layer of consumer intelligence that reveals digital actions and exposures. Beacons – currently placed around stores to push coupons and user reviews to shopper phones and tablets -- allow advertisers to pull together online ad and marketing exposures to offline behaviors. They also make the process of retargeting offline behaviors with online ads very accurate “because real-world behaviors can be located to extremely precise locations and interactions”. The insights on the potential of beacons were presented at a recent Mediapost conference.

"Beacons Open Up Prospects For 'Physical Retargeting'", Media Post, February 16, 2015

Market News  

Retail Market Suffers Decline In Customer Satisfaction In 2014, ACSI Report Says

Customer satisfaction with the retail market declined 1.4 percent to an ACSI score of 76.8, with all retail categories, except Internet retail, showing weaker or flat customer satisfaction levels. Factors driving the downturn included rising prices, with retailers selling non-discretionary products being affected the most. Online retailers received higher customer satisfaction, compared with 2013, a year characterized with winter storms and and an increase in online shopping which caused delivery delays. Customer satisfaction with gasoline service stations dropped 2.7 percent to an ACSI score of 73; however, prospects looked better for 2015, driven in part by falling oil price.

"ACSI Retail Report 2014", American Customer Satisfaction Index, February 18, 2015

Amazon Competitor Jet, Preparing For Spring Launch, Bulks Up With More Venture Cash

E-commerce start-up and avowed Amazon nemesis Jet has raised another $140 million in venture funding after raising $80 million last September, pushing the company’s valuation to $600 million. The company unveiled a private beta site last month and expects to launch a "Jet Insiders" site next month. Founder Marc Lore says the site will go public later in the spring. The company will mimic Amazon by selling pretty much everything, but 10 to 15 percent cheaper than Amazon. Customers will make up the difference with a $50 annual membership fee, like at Costco.

"E-Commerce Startup Jet Raised $140 Million to Compete With Amazon", Inc., February 12, 2015

E-tail: The next big thing in e-commerce

Money Control, February 16, 2015

Marketing & Advertising  

Target Lowers Minimum Purchase Required For Free Shipping

Retailer Target lowered the minimum purchase that shoppers need to make online to qualify for free shipping from $50 to $25. Target's move puts it lower than rival Walmart, which still requires a minimum purchase of $50, and significantly below department store chains, such as Macy's and JCPenney, which offers free shipping for purchases higher than $99. In contrast, leading online retailer requires a minimum purchase of $35. Target also began shipping some orders directly from its stores, improving delivery time and inventory management.

"Target tweaks free shipping policy to lure online shoppers", ZD Net, February 23, 2015

E-Commerce No Threat To India’s Traditional Retailers

A report by a consulting/accounting firm says it will be a long time before traditional retailers in India are threatened by online competitors. Pricewaterhouse-Coopers says the key reasons are last-mile connectivity, high payment cost, low profitability, regulatory barriers and a scarcity of skilled manpower. Low Internet penetration in the country is another major barrier: only 16 percent of India's 1.2 billion people had access to the Internet in 2013. Bottom line: online stores are projected to account for only three percent of India's total retail market by 2020.

"E-commerce giants still no match for traditional retailers: Pricewaterhouse-Coopers", The Economic Times, February 16, 2015

WeChat is re-inventing China's direct sales model, says expert

CosmeticDesign-Asia.com, February 12, 2015

Twitter Adds Cliques and Flicks

E-Commerce Times, January 28, 2015

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