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E-Tail Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:91

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December 15, 2016, to January 01, 2017

The Drone Delivery Era Begins With Amazon Test In U.K.

Amazon launched a drone delivery test in the U.K. on December 7 that involves only two customers. The test will be expanded to several dozen, and then eventually several hundred, customers who live close to its first Prime Air fulfillment center near Cambridge. Drones are loaded with packages up to five pounds and then rolled out on rails for takeoff. The goal is to ensure that all deliveries arrive within a half an hour. The first Amazon drone delivery – it took 13 minutes from online order to drop off – was an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn. The drones only fly during daylight and optimum weather conditions.

Supermarket Trends Will Stress Gaining, Maintaining, Shopper Loyalty

A supermarket analyst says the top trends of 2017 will improve customer loyalty to stores and lead to better informed shoppers. Trends include greater use of digital technologies, faster checkout, greater variety in the produce department, more meal kits, and the availability of more detailed product information. One way to maintain shopper loyalty, according to John Karolefski, is for stores to increase emphasis on digital marketing. Grocers will embed beacons in shelves shelves, signs and product displays. The sensors interact with smartphones to provide coupons and other discounts. In addition, look for more mobile apps as a way to offer discounts and specials to shoppers. Lastly, expect online grocery ordering and delivery to grow as shoppers become accustomed to the convenience.

A Busy Year For Sephora

2016 has been a busy year for Sephora. Online, it has two new bot-powered beauty tools for Facebook's Messenger. The new Sephora Reservation Assistant allows customers to book appointments for makeovers at Sephora stores, and Color Match is a shade matching extension for the Sephora Virtual Artist bot. It has also been working to provide more of an ominchannel experience for shoppers, and is also rumored to be looking to expand its physical footprint too, with a store outlet in London’s Westfield shopping center. Further afield, it has see growth in India and opened a new distribution center in Poland. In Brazil, it is expanding distribution by rolling out its products in El Corte Ingles stores.  

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December 01, 2016, to December 15, 2016

Mondelez Signals Importance Of E-Commerce To Its Growth Plans

The departure of chief media and e-commerce officer Bonin Bough has led to organizational changes that affect Mondelez’s e-commerce and marketing strategies. Jeff Jarrett will now head global e-commerce under chief growth officer Tim Cofer, who said the move demonstrates that e-commerce is “a key priority and growth pillar” and signals the company’s strong belief in the value of direct-to-consumer channels. The e-commerce team will have complete responsibility and accountability for its revenue, margin and operations. According to Cofer, the goal is to build an e-commerce snacks business worth $1 billion by 2020.

Bloggers Are Challenging Beauty Industry’s Standard Business Practices, Creating Headaches For Established Players

Social media has spawned many bloggers that are starting to shake up the beauty industry, changing what we expect from makeup, how models get noticed and how brands go to market. These bloggers are often young and with little experience of or allegiance to established ways of doing business and some players are irritated. Social media tends to homogenize and makeup is now tilting to “Instagram makeup” that relies on strong contouring and highlighting as popularized by Kim Kardashian West, leaving some makeup artists frustrated.  Aspiring models are offering time and photoshoots to popular bloggers and cutting out agents in the process. And some brands are working with bloggers to promote launches, some with notable success. While brands previously focused on those bloggers with largest reach some are now working with influencers with a smaller, perhaps more dedicated audience where there’s a stronger overlap in values: “…brands that will be successful and the influencers who will be successful are those who keep the idea of authenticity,” said Robert DeBaker, the CEO of Becca Cosmetics.

London Shoppers Can Get Estee Lauder Purchases Delivered In An Hour

Shoppers in London won’t have to wait long for Estée Lauder products they buy this Christmas. The Estee Lauder Companies is to launch on Facebook’s Messenger service in the UK, enabling it to deliver in an hour within London, according to a report in The Telegraph, and will also open a pop-up shop near its London headquarters on Mortimer Street. The Messenger bot communicates with customers using artificial intelligence, and the customers can choose an instant courier within London. The company is embracing digital and recently established a mentoring program for senior managers to learn about social media from younger employees.

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October 15, 2016, to December 01, 2016

New and Established Indie Brands Are Driving Growth In Beauty

The indie beauty industry is thriving, driven by 90s brands like Urban Decay that are becoming mainstream, as well as emerging brands focused on specific areas and needs, all fueled by social media. A June report from Tribe Dynamics stated that independent brands saw double-digit growth between 2009 and 2014, over four times the pace of the cosmetics market as a whole. Big beauty companies, like L’Oreal, and other large companies with ambitions in beauty, like Unilever, are also snapping up indie brands, but there are concerns about whether these new parents will retain the brands’ independence. The Internet is intensifying customer empowerment, with the younger generations particularly skeptical of advertising claims and more willing to accept influencer opinions and reviews. In return, the brands are improving transparency and communication. The Internet is also allowing brands to sell without retailer accounts, by launching direct-to-consumer platforms and leading engagement online. Tribe Dynamics highlights Anastasia Beverly Hills as the fastest growing brand with over $10 million in sales annually. It engages regularly with over 400 influencers and is in top spot at Instagram with more than 11.5 million followers. Retailers are realizing the indie brands’ appeal, with Sephora, for example, rolling out its indie brand distribution platform, Scouted by Sephora, in 2015.

Beauty And Personal Care Brands Recognized For Mobile Marketing Innovation

Beauty and personal care companies were among the list of those with campaigns presented with The Mobile Marketing Association’s 2016 Smarties awards. Silver in the Global – Mobile App category went to Unilever’s Dove brand for ‘Love Your Curls Emojis’. Sally Hanson, a Coty brand, won bronze in the same category for its ManiMatch app, a nail polish makeover tool. In the Latin America region, L’Oréal captured Programmatic category gold and Location-Based silver for its Ralph Lauren Polo Red Fragrances campaign for the travel retail channel.  

Facebook Outlines Mobile Beauty Shopping Behavior

A paper published by Facebook looks at how the beauty industry is using and being changed by mobile, and outlined seven key insights in a concluding “cheat sheet”. Its main takeaways included the observation that m-commerce is now mainstream and taking an increasing share of beauty and personal care purchases. It also noted how mobile is being used within physical stores to help consumers in their purchase decisions, and predicts that everyone will be mobile shoppers within 10 years. It found that shoppers are encouraged to pursue beauty purchases by content on Facebook and Instagram, but it also said that there’s more to do in mobile to make the shopping experience more convenient and frictionless. 

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October 01, 2016, to October 15, 2016

Household Care Leads Strong Growth In CPG Online Sales

Online sales of household care products grew 42 percent in 2015, compared with the previous year. In contrast, overall online sales of consumer packaged goods rose 30 percent during the same period. Among household segments, laundry detergents grew the fastest at 85 percent, with Procter & Gamble's Tide brand grabbing the number 1 spot in the US in both online and offline sales. Factors helping online retailers succeed in expanding sales of household care products include selling in bulk and automation of the re-ordering process. Online retailers' profitability is driven by factors including price-to-weight ratio and price pack architecture.

Amazon Settles On Flat Monthly Fee For Online Grocery Delivery Service

The online grocery shopping service AmazonFresh is now cheaper for Prime members. The service, originally priced at $299 per year, later shifted to a $7.99 per delivery scheme, but is now being offered at $14.99 a month to Amazon Prime subscribers. AmazonFresh is now live in the Boston area, in addition to Baltimore, Seattle, major cities in California, the New York metro area, northern New Jersey, the Philadelphia metro, Northern Virginia, Stamford (Conn.), Trenton (N.J.) and London (U.K.). Customers can order by 10 a.m. for same-day delivery by 6 p.m., or order by 10 p.m. for delivery by 6 a.m. the following day.

Amazon Most Visited Online Store In France, Study Reveals

In France, more than six in 10 consumers who shop online and had made at least one online purchase in the past six months had shopped at Amazon, according to the Federation du E-commerce et de la Vente a Distance and Mediametrie. Amazon was the most visited site with both PC and mobile, accounting for 30 percent of internet users on both platforms—15 million average monthly unique desktop and laptop visitors in the second quarter and 10.4 million on mobile. Data showed Amazon was the only one on the top 10 that is not based in France.

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September 15, 2016, to October 01, 2016

Amazon Plans To Open 100 Stores In US

Amazon plans to open around 100 pop-up stores in shopping malls in 2017, according to Business Insider. Aimed at selling the online retailer’s lineup of electronics, including its Amazon Basics devices, the stores will occupy about 300 square feet to 500 square feet of mall space. With Amazon introducing private-label devices, the company’s pop-up stores are likely to pose a threat to electronics retailers, such as Best Buy and Staples.

Walmart Says It Has Finalized Purchase Of Jet.com

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., said it has completed its acquisition of online retailer Jet.com, Inc., after the expiration of the federally mandated waiting period. Expected to help the retail giant accelerate its e-commerce expansion efforts, the purchase deal was valued at approximately $3 billion cash and $300 million in Walmart shares. As part of the deal, Jet.com founder and CEO Marc Lore joins Walmart as EVP and president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce in the US.

Amazon Leads In Europe's Online Retail Market, Report Says

Amazon was the largest online retailer in Western Europe in 2015 in terms of revenue, according to the report, “Fung Global Retail & Technology Internet Retailers Ranking for Europe.” In 2012‒2015, Amazon increased its market share in Germany from 36 percent of all online sales to 43 percent, according to Euromonitor. Zalando improved its profitability during the period, according to S&P Capital IQ, becoming one of Europe's largest online retailers in the process. UK-focused online retailer John Lewis saw its online sales expand at a CAGR of 23.4 percent during the period covered by the report.

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September 01, 2016, to September 15, 2016

Carrefour Launches E-Voucher Program In Taiwan

Carrefour launched the Carrefour Ticket Xpress, the retailer's first digital voucher service, in Taiwan. Developed by France-based corporate services company, Edenred, the e-voucher is designed to support retail and mobile payment systems. According to the retailer, the e-voucher program is available at loyalty programs offered by various service provider, such as banks, payment apps, and online stores. Consumers participating in the program can use their reward points to have their e-voucher delivered to their mobile phones. By scanning the barcode at any of Carrefour's 87 stores across the country, consumers can use the e-voucher to pay for their purchases.

Cyzone Cosmetics, ModiFace Launch Mobile App For Trying On Makeup

Cyzone Cosmetics partnered with ModiFace to launch the Cy MakeApp mobile application for the iOS and Android mobile platforms. Featuring ModiFace's facial tracking and makeup rendering technology, the mobile app allows consumers to virtually try on cosmetics on live video.

Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality Offer Retailers New Ways Of Reaching Customers

Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies are expected to significantly affect the retail industry. Retailers seeking to integrate VR and AR into their business models should first decide which technology to use for specific applications, then determine whether the application is for in-store or out-of-store use. Also, retailers need to identify their customers who would prefer an AR or VR solution, then establish the technology's value proposition. Retailers need to connect the solution to their business model, establishing measurable financial or customer-engagement objectives to make sure the VR/AR solution is creating value for the business.

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August 15, 2016, to September 01, 2016

Spending Trends Make Some Retail Sectors Skittish

Retail sales in the U.S. were sluggish in July, especially among clothing and electronic goods vendors, where shopping is shifting from brick-and-mortar stores to the Internet. It’s not because American consumers aren’t spending. After all, unemployment is down, income is up, and energy prices remain low. U.S. households have increased spending every quarter since the end of 2009. But there has been a shift in where Americans spend, toward entertainment, travel and healthcare -- and online. The experts don’t seem alarmed. One economist said the news signals “a pause in a good pace of spending”, while a global forecaster expects a 2.6 percent gain in gross domestic product this quarter over a year earlier. Still some sectors have reason to be nervous: consumer spending is falling at sporting goods stores, food and beverage stores, restaurants and bars.

Snack Maker Associates Brand With Kindness In New Mobile Marketing Ploy

Kind Snacks is trying a new mobile marketing strategy that links "kindness" with a snack bar reward. The strategy allows Kind to reach more mobile users while putting the brand in a positive light. Consumers show their appreciation for family and friends by sending an ecard via Facebook, Twitter or email. The family member then enters an email address – or Twitter username or Facebook name – to claim a free Kind granola snack bar. Recipients can claim their reward within seconds and then participate themselves in the “pass it on” campaign. The gimmick is just one of a number of ways CPG marketers are boosting mobile engagement while getting the word out on their products.

Supermarkets Turn To “Experiential Retailing” To Grow Market Share

Though 25 percent of U.S. grocery shoppers say they are spending more at supermarkets, Mintel data show otherwise. Consumers are actually more likely to shop for groceries at other channels, like mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs and drug stores. Nearly two in five consumers shop secondarily at Walmart, the highest retailer “also shopped” for groceries. Total U.S. multi-outlet sales of groceries will rise 2.5 percent this year to $652 billion, but supermarket sales will grow only 1.9 percent to $317.8 billion. The result? To compete, grocers are turning to innovation and experiential retailing to hold onto or grow market share. For example, ShopRite in Morristown, N.J., offers an in-store restaurant, juice bar, oyster bar and a daycare center for shoppers with children. A store in Hanover Township (N.Y.) includes a fitness studio and a cosmetologist on weekends.

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August 01, 2016, to August 15, 2016

Why Digital Shopping Is On The Rise: Brick-And-Mortar Stores Are Not Much Help

Almost all of the 44.4 million digital shoppers in the U.K. are likely to buy something online this year, according to survey data from consultancy Pragma. They increasingly tend to prefer using digital channels at every stage of the shopping process, except when making the final purchase decision and resolving post-purchase issues. At these points, they often prefer to head to the store. This means that stores are not doing a good job of keeping customers up-to-date on the latest products, providing detailed product information, or even allowing simple product browsing. The key finding proving that U.K. stores are failing their customers: only four percent say they’re shopping online less than they used to – compared to 32 percent shopping less in physical stores.

Wal-Mart Works More Closely With China's WeChat Mobile Social Network

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its partnership with mobile social network WeChat in China as part of its efforts to attract more consumers into its stores. In July 2016, Wal-Mart started allowing shoppers to check out in more than 100 stores across the country using WeChat Pay mobile payment. Also, the retailer runs a loyalty program aimed at the followers of its WeChat account. Using its WeChat account, Wal-Mart launched a digital gift card feature, enabling local consumers to send virtual gift cards.

Diminishing Shelf Space Drives CPG Companies To Try Online Innovation

Manufacturers of food, drink, beauty, and personal care products are losing store shelf space thanks to the rise of own-brand discount supermarket chains like Aldi and Lidl, and smaller stores that sell independent brands. To meet the challenge, manufacturers – Reckitt Benckiser, Nestlé, Diageo, Unilever, etc. – are increasingly focusing on e-commerce, selling through e-tail websites. But they are also experimenting with delivery-on-demand and subscription-based models. It’s a rising trend: online shoppers globally spent $87 billion on CPG items last year, nine percent of the total online spend. Twenty-five percent of people in 60 countries in 2015 ordered grocery products online for home delivery. Fifty-five percent said they would do so in the future.

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July 15, 2016, to August 01, 2016

Food Delivery Robots Take To The Streets In European Cities

A robot food delivery start-up announced it is testing its business strategy and technology with the help of several European food and parcel delivery companies, including Pronto, Hermes, and Just Eat, as well as grocery retailer Metro Group. Starship Technologies, created by two Skype co-founders, will launch dozens of delivery robots in London, Düsseldorf, Bern and another German city to start. It will then move to several other European and American cities. It already operates delivery robots in Tallinn, Estonia, its headquarters location.

EBay Upgrades Mobile Websites With Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages Technology

Online marketplace eBay Inc. updated some of its mobile webpages with Google Inc.’s Accelerated Mobile Pages technology. Developed to help businesses build mobile pages that load as fast as possible on smartphones, AMP is based on open-source standards. AMP-using mobile pages can load quickly because its HTML code includes restrictions, such as preventing customized Javascript coding. AMP also uses Google’s AMP Cache, a content delivery network that confirms each page works and does not depend on outside resources. With AMP, eBay helps consumers who access its mobile website from links, including Google search and Twitter.

Online Health Food Retailer Profits From Program To Reduce Waste

A British online health food, beverage and supplement retailer hopes to raise $130,000 through crowdfunding to expand its program of selling out-of-date products at steep discounts. Vitalife’s “Love Health Hate Waste” initiative, launched a year ago, has kept nearly a million dollars’ worth of foods, drinks and supplements from ending up in landfills. The company said it was throwing away products that had reached their best-used-before date but were still “perfectly fit for consumption and legal to sell.” The company sells the products at discounts as high as 90 percent off retail. Under the program, which is expected to turn an $800,000 profit this year, “we are making healthy food and drink accessible to everyone,” a spokesman said.

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July 01, 2016, to July 15, 2016

RB Partners With HookLogic To Expand Mobile E-Commerce Operations

Reckitt Benckiser partnered with e-commerce technology firm HookLogic to help expand the consumer goods company's mobile e-commerce capabilities. HookLogic lets brands place search, display, and product listing ads directly on e-commerce websites and in apps using a network of retailers that includes Sears, Costco, Walmart, and Target. In June 2016, HookLogic launched a tool for identifying sets of user actions. This attribution tool allows clients to measure results of their marketing across the network. Also, the company launched an e-commerce ad exchange designed to expand its programmatic ad serving capabilities. HookLogic also said it can help clients determine whether a keyword search brought an internet user who clicked on a product and whether the user ends up buying the item.

Walmart Promises That All Suppliers Of U.S.-Made Goods Will Get A Shot On Its Website

Walmart execs recently met with 800 suppliers to hear pitches on potential Walmart.com products that are made exclusively in the U.S. The company said a third of the companies at the U.S. Manufacturing Summit were minority- or women-owned. A Walmart merchandising executive promised that all of the products – except those that can’t be shipped because they contain hazardous materials – would be automatically approved for sale on Walmart.com. The Summit is part of the company’s initiative, launched in 2013, to spend $250 billion on American-made goods for its stores, Sam’s Club, and website.

India’s Flipkart Experiments Again With In-House Brand Marketing

India’s online retail marketplace Flipkart will be licensing its house brands in jewelry, mobile, and fashion accessories to approved sellers, according to reports. Suppliers must be capable of fulfilling the company’s quality manufacturing benchmarks and product specifications. This is the company’s second try at boosting its high-margin private-label business. Three years ago it launched in-house brands Digiflip in consumer electronics, Citron in home appliances and Flippd in apparels. The brands failed to gain a toehold in their markets; the company has stopped selling Digiflip tablets.
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