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Period: June 1, 2016 to June 15, 2016
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

Wal-Mart Seeks Bigger Share Of China's Online Retail Market

Wal-Mart is seeking to expand its e-commerce operations in China, as part of the company’s efforts to increase its share of the local online retail market. Yihaodian, which Wal-Mart acquired in July 2015, operates 250 e-commerce hubs in 200 cities across China. Online sales in the country reached $307 billion in 2013, hit $589.2 billion in 2015, and is forecast to grow beyond $1 trillion by 2019. In contrast, online spending in the US was $334 billion in 2015 and is forecast to reach $480 billion by 2019, according to Forrester. In China, 46 percent of shoppers are already buying groceries online for home delivery, compared with the global rate of 25 percent, according to Nielsen. Wal-Mart accounts for 1.6 percent of the local online market, which places it at number 6, behind Alibaba, which has 46.9 percent of the market and JD.com with 20.1 percent. According to analysts, Wal-Mart, which aims to be among the top 3 online retailers in the market, will find it hard to grab market ...  More

"Wal-Mart Steps up Online Efforts in China as a Key to Future", ABC News, May 31, 2016

Birchbox Adds Retail Locations To Its Subscription-Box Business Model

Birchbox Inc. plans to expand its share of the $16-billion prestige beauty industry in the US by opening retail locations. According to Birchbox co-founder and CEO, Katia Beauchamp, the company will not abandon its subscription-box business model. Instead, by opening its retail operations, the company aims to become profitable. Since its launch in 2010, the company has seen plenty of rivals with copycat versions of its samples-in-a-box offering.

"Birchbox Finds Cute Boxes Filled With Makeup Aren't Enough", Bloomberg, June 03, 2016

Sephora Adopts ShopStyle App To Let Consumers Buy Products They See On Snapchat

Beauty retailer Sephora has started allowing its Snapchat followers to buy products it features in live stories. By taking a screenshot and downloading the ShopStyle application, consumers can buy beauty products they like. With Snapchat not allowing marketers to include clickable shopping links in photos they upload, beauty marketers are creating ways to make money using the image-sharing website. PopSugar’s ShopStyle app is designed to help marketers monetize their Snapchat stories.

"Sephora uncaps new mobile revenue stream via shoppable Snapchats", Luxury Daily , June 07, 2016

Companies, Organizations  

Amazon Continues Beating Walmart Online, Mizuho Says

Amazon's online shoppers spend about $157 a month on average, up from $130 a month in November 2015, according to financial research firm Mizuho. In contrast, Walmart's online customers reduced their average monthly spending from $30 a month to $27, data revealed. Walmart saw lower numbers despite its efforts to grow its online business, including its commitment to invest $900 million for the next two years and partnerships with ride-sharing firms Uber and Lyft to expand online delivery service. According to Mizuho, Amazon's growth is driven in part by mobile platform, with 67 percent of respondents picking Amazon as their favorite mobile shopping site.

"Here's another sign that Amazon is absolutely crushing Walmart in online shopping", Business Insider, June 07, 2016

China Allows Wal-Mart To Acquire Online Retailer Yihaodian Without Restrictions

China's Ministry of Commerce has removed restrictions on Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s acquisition of online supermarket Yihaodian. In August 2012, Wal-Mart received conditional approval for its deal to increase its investment in the online retailer, becoming its controlling shareholder with a 51-percent stake. In July 2015, Wal-Mart acquired the remaining 49 percent of Yihaodian.

"China commerce ministry removes curbs on Wal-Mart's Yihaodian deal", Reuters, June 08, 2016

Innovation Celebration 2016

Trendwatching.com, June 01, 2016

Amazon Launches Grocery-Delivery Service in London

The Wall Street Journal, June 09, 2016


Retailers Look At Chatbots As Another Way Of Staying In Touch With Customers

Retailers are testing chatbots, computer programs powered by artificial intelligence and designed to imitate human conversations, as a means to reach, retain, and sell to customers. Although chatbots have been around for years, the growing popularity of messaging apps, such as Kik, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, has made these AI-enabled chat tools popular. With American consumers' retail spending on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, forecast by eMarketer to grow from $123.13 billion in 2016 to $242.08 billion in 2020, retailers might see advantages in deploying chatbots. There are some drawbacks to using chatbots; for example, there is the risk of losing data and insights if customers stopped using their apps and websites. Also, these AI-enabled tools are still not fully capable of fully mimicking human conversations and usually fail when faced with queries and comments not covered by their scripts.

"Retailers experiment with chatbots to reach customers", Mercury News, June 03, 2016

Facebook Urges Beauty Brands To Go Mobile

Social networking site Facebook told beauty marketers that commerce is moving to the mobile platform. Launched at the company’s first beauty summit, held in Los Angeles’ Hotel Bel-Air, Facebook IQ’s report “Beauty Beyond: The Thumb is in Charge” showed three in 10 beauty and personal care purchases by consumers 18 years old and above happened on mobile from September to December 2015. Data from the report revealed millennials, mothers, and multicultural customers accounted for 81 percent of beauty purchases during the last holiday shopping season. Also, the report forecast that in 5–10 years, all consumers will be using mobile for their purchases.

"Facebook to Beauty Marketers: The Moment for Mobile Is Now", Women’s Wear Daily, June 06, 2016

Miniature food trend becoming viral

Australian Food News, May 30, 2016

The Future Of Africonnection

Trendwatching.com, June 01, 2016

Heritage Beauty and the Need to Go Social

Euromonitor International, June 05, 2016

Survey Shows Rapid Growth in Online Shopping

The Wall Street Journal, June 08, 2016

Market News  

Pet Care Fastest-Growing Home Care Segment Online, L2 Says

Among the home care categories, the pet care industry was the fastest-growing segment in 2015 in terms of e-commerce, according to L2's 2016 Home Care report. Although still a fragmented market with no clear leader yet, online sales of pet care products grew 55 percent to reach $760 million during the year. Despite online retailers' level of sophistication, pet care brands did not excel in digital, the market research firm said.

"Pet Care Has Highest E-Commerce Penetration in Home Care", L2 Daily, June 01, 2016

Amazon.com Aims To Boost Spending Power In India By $3 Billion

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. announced plans to invest $3 billion more in India. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the investment plans during a meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington. In contrast with local online retailers that are finding it hard to raise cash, Amazon's announcement raises its total planned investment in India to $5 billion. India could be the next biggest e-commerce market; however, Amazon is facing serious competition from local online operators, including Flipkart Internet and Snapdeal.com. Also, the company is adapting its business operations to local conditions. For example, it is doing home delivery itself and operates more and smaller warehouses in the country.

"Amazon Plans $3 Billion India Investment", The Wall Street Journal, June 07, 2016

Retail Excellence Ireland Launches Trustmark

Ecommerce Europe, May 19, 2016

Walmart: Thinking outside the box

The Economist, June 04, 2016

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