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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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June 15, 2016, to July 01, 2016

Amazon Announces Lower Shipping Fees To Better Compete With Online Rivals

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. announced lower fees it charges merchants that sell small, flat products that can fit in envelopes. Effective July 1, 2016, sellers would pay $1.61 to ship three, flat, 1-ounce packages, which is 67 percent lower than the existing fee. Covering merchants using the online retailer’s Fulfillment By Amazon Small and Light program, the move is seen as part of the online retailer’s efforts to better compete with marketplaces owned by rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., EBay Inc., and Wish.com that link China-based sellers with shoppers in the US.

Wal-Mart Sells China E-Commerce Site To JD.com

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it has agreed to sell its Yihaodian website in China to JD.com Inc., the country’s second-largest online retailer. As part of the deal, which marks a strategic shift in the US-based retailer’s approach to e-commerce business in China, Wal-Mart will receive a 5-percent stake in JD.com. After opening its first store in China in 1996, Wal-Mart has found it hard to expand in the country where it operates about 430 locations. In 2012, Wal-Mart first invested in Yihaodian and gained full control of the website in 2015.

ModiFace Launches Beauty Advisor Bot For Facebook Messenger

Technology firm ModiFace launched a beauty advisor bot for Facebook Messenger. Offering a hint of what the future of beauty shopping looks like, the bot is programmed to help shoppers choose lipsticks by brand, color, or shade name from a lineup of 20,000 products. Designed to direct customers to where they can buy their favorite lipstick, the beauty advisor bot answers most questions related to lipstick options. ModiFace sees lipsticks as a test platform for the bot technology and sees more complex applications for the technology in the future.

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June 01, 2016, to June 15, 2016

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 share from the local online retail giants.

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.

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.

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May 15, 2016, to June 01, 2016

Anticounterfeiting Group Kicks Out Alibaba For Perceived Failure To Act Against Fake Products

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding's membership in the AntiCounterfeiting Coalition has been revoked by the anti-counterfeiting organization. According to a letter sent by the group to its 250 members, the coalition’s board of directors said it decided to suspend a recently created membership category under which Alibaba was admitted in April 2016. Also, the group cited concern from global brands about the Chinese e-commerce company's commitment to fighting fake products.

Amazon Plans To Sell More Private-Label Products

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. plans to sell more private-label brands, including those of perishable foods, such as nuts, spices, tea, and coffee. After working for several years to develop private-label lines, the online retailer will start selling them as early as end of May or start of June 2016. Sales of store brands in the US reached $118.4 billion in 2015, up by about $2.2 billion from the previous year, data from the Private Label Manufacturers Association revealed.

Retailers Need To Adopt Omni-Presence To Succeed In India

Retailers in India need to do business on all retail channels and formats to succeed in the local market. Expanding worldwide, omni-presence as a retail concept is for retailers seeking to reach as many consumers as possible. In India, majority of local retailers were selling offline, online, and on mobile platforms in 2014–2015. During the past 5–7 years, local consumers have steadily moved from offline to online shopping. Successful retailers in the country already have a presence in more than one platform. Trendsutra Platform Services Pvt Ltd.’s Pepperfry.com launched its first offline store in Mumbai in December 2014, followed by another store in Bangalore in 2015.

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May 01, 2016, to May 15, 2016

Adblock, Flattr Create Software That Allows Users To Donate To Websites

Adblock Plus has joined forces with micropayment website Flattr to launch a beta version of Flattr Plus, which allows users to distribute credit card or bank account payments among their preferred sites either once or periodically. The Flattr Plus algorithm divvies up the money to sites, and Adblock and Flattr get ten percent of the distributed cash. The announcement did not mollify opponents of ad blocking software. A representative of the Interactive Advertising bureau called the Adblock Plus/Flattr partnership "another attempt to paint ad blocking as anything other than a dangerous technology that erodes the foundations of the free Internet."

Mobile Commerce Growth Pushes Legacy Retailers To Innovate And Be Nimble

Growing consumer use of mobile commerce is forcing the largest retailers in the United States to change the way they do business. Legacy retailers Macy's, J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Wal-Mart, and Target are leading the market's push for mobile commerce, according to Bloomberg Intelligence senior retail analyst Poonan Goyal. For Wal-Mart, digital sales growth added 20–30 basis points to the retailer's same-store sales for more than 10 quarters. Macy's owns the market's best mobile app in terms of technicality, while J.C. Penney saw mobile traffic grow 25 percent and conversion jumped to 60 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

GlaxoSmithKline Launches Sensodyne Whitening Toothpaste In India

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare launched the Sensodyne Whitening toothpaste in India. Before launching the product to the general market, however, GSK opted to sign an exclusive deal with Snapdeal to sell the product online. While other manufacturers, such as Colgate and HUL, have launched whitening toothpastes for the high-end market, GSK pushes its product as a one-stop solution for relieving tooth sensitivity and restoring whiteness.

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April 15, 2016, to May 01, 2016

Target Adds Coupon-Clipping Feature To Cartwheel Savings App

Target said it has added a new feature to its Cartwheel shopping app to help shoppers save money at checkout. Previously focused on providing customers with discounts on items, the app has been expanded to support digital coupons from manufacturers, the company said. With the new feature, shoppers can clip digital coupons, which are the same as those on the local Sunday newspapers. Target said it is currently testing the new service, developed in partnership with third-party provider of digital coupons, Quotient.

Alibaba Acquires Controlling Stake In Lazada For $1 Billion

China’s Internet company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said it will invest $1 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Singapore-based e-commerce startup Lazada Group. Marking the Chinese firm’s largest overseas acquisition ever, the acquisition of Lazada follows Alibaba’s purchase in December 2015 of Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper for $266 million. Alibaba said it was spending $500 million to buy newly issued Lazada shares and $500 more on shares owned by existing shareholders, including Rocket Internet, Tesco PLC, and AB Kinnevik.

Rakuten Opens Business Office In Bengaluru; Eyes India's E-Commerce Market

Japan-based Internet company Rakuten opened a business office in Bengaluru. Also, the company is reportedly talking with other Internet companies, including Amazon and Flipkart, as part of its strategy to launch an e-commerce business in India. In 2014, the company opened a development center in the city.

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April 01, 2016, to April 15, 2016

Tesco Launches PayQuiq Mobile Payment System In Stores Across London Region

Retailer Tesco plans to launch its PayQuiq mobile payment system for stores across the London region. To be available at about 500 Tesco stores within the M25 area, the PayQuiq app will let shoppers pay for purchases worth up to £400 using their mobile phones. Tesco has sent invitations to 600,000 members of its loyalty program Clubcard to download and test the mobile app. Tesco’s PayQuiq is designed to compete with Apple Pay and Android Pay mobile payment systems.

CoverGirl Launches First Beauty App

Procter & Gamble’s beauty brand CoverGirl launched its BeautyU mobile app. In addition to its augmented reality features, the app comes with a face scan designed to help identify users’ individual facial features. Also, it includes a diagnostic tool, which helps create a customized look or product list for a particular user. BeautyU also offers a range of options on the user’s features and profile.

Retailers Find 4 Ways To Digital Marketing Success

Retailers are adopting four ways of using digital marketing to influence consumers. To encourage consumers to visit their stores, retailers are using digital technology to offer local information. Data from Google revealed 75 percent of shoppers who find local information in search results are more likely to visit stores. Once consumers are in the store, retailers use digital to improve shoppers’ in-store experience. For example, Sephora lets shoppers use their smartphones while shopping in-store to search for product recommendations through the company’s Sephora App. Also, retailers are finding out that email is the most effective channel to promote personalized interactions with consumers. Data from Criteo showed 80 percent of retail marketers are using personalized email marketing strategies. Mobile is a vital component of retailers’ digital marketing success. According to Forrester Research, m-commerce is forecast to grow so fast that it may potentially account for 54 percent of total e-commerce revenue by 2018.

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March 15, 2016, to April 01, 2016

Sephora Employs Worldline Electronic Payments System For Sephora Flash Smart Stores

Sephora partnered with electronic payments and transactions company Worldline to launch its Sephora Flash smart beauty store. On October 21, 2015, Sephora opened its first Sephora Flash store in Paris, a retail concept that combines seamlessly brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping. Using an off-the-shelf near field communication, or NFC, card and a physical basket, customers can shop among 3,500 products on display at Sephora Flash stores. Also, customers using their handsets or tablets can browse Sephora’s online catalogue featuring 14,000 products.

Sephora Encourages Innovation In Mobile Beauty Market By Supporting Tech Startups

Sephora supports innovation in the beauty mobile market by backing several business startups focused on creating new roles for the smartphone in scheduling beauty appointments and attracting shoppers. As part of this initiative, Sephora launched the Sephora Accelerate, an incubation program for beauty startups. For the 2016 Sephora Accelerate Cohort, the company announced its lineup of women entrepreneurs who will participate in the business and innovation promotion program. Among the entrepreneurs are Candace Mitchell, Carolina Grove, and Danielle Cohen-Shohet.

China Revises Taxation Rules For Imported Goods Sold Online

China is amending its tax rules for imported products sold online by removing a special tax, also known as parcel tax, previously imposed on such goods. Replacing the parcel tax will be value-added and consumption duties that are at present levied on most products sold in the country. According to China’s Ministry of Finance, however, the new tax will come with a 30-percent discount. In January 2016, China expanded a pilot program, which allowed a port district in the city of Hangzhou to trade imported goods at lower rates. Online sales of imported goods in China have expanded at a CAGR of 63 percent in the five-year period ending 2015 to reach 638 billion yuan, or $98 billion, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s total online retail sales, data from Mintel Group Ltd. revealed.

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March 01, 2016, to March 15, 2016

MNC Launches BrandOutlet Online Store In Indonesia

Investment company MNC Group launched BrandOutlet, an online store for high-end beauty and fashion products in Indonesia. Highlighting the potential of Internet-based retail in the country, the online store comes with a product lineup that is 60 percent made up of local brands. Operating on a multi-channel basis across mobile and desktop, the store also comes with a dedicated blog.

Instacart Gains Firmer Foothold In Whole Foods’ World

The 18-month, 17-city partnership between Whole Foods Market and the Instacart delivery service has been successful enough that the two companies are extending it. They will launch services in ”several” metropolitan areas this year, beginning with Orange County, Calif., and Baltimore, Md. The companies also expect to create new e-commerce and delivery solutions, while adding more stores that offer the Instacart delivery option. The extended relationship means Instacart is Whole Foods’ largest online ordering and delivery partner.

After Missing 2015 E-Commerce Goal, Target Pledges To Spend $2 Billion Each Year On Improving Online Operations

Retailer Target said that, starting in 2017, it plans to spend $2 billion a year on expanding its e-commerce operations. After reporting a 34 percent increase in online sales during the last holiday season, the company said it plans to invest $1.8 billion in 2016 on capital projects, mostly on e-commerce and supply chain improvements. For full-year 2015, Target’s e-commerce grew 31 percent, failing to reach CEO Brian Cornell’s promise to Wall Street to reach 40 percent. Its e-commerce investment announcement means the company intends to never miss the target again.

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February 15, 2016, to March 01, 2016

To Succeed In The Mobile Wallet Arena, Walmart Needs A Loyalty Component

Walmart’s venture into mcommerce – the mobile wallet Walmart Pay – is a good start, but it lacks a customer loyalty component that would keep it competitive with Apple Pay and retail competitors’ mobile payment platforms. The key to winning mobile shoppers is to emphasize the benefits of Walmart Pay. That means initially the simple convenience of paying with a phone, but also the offer of added value, such as a well-structured in-app loyalty program that would include the ability to redeem offers and earn loyalty points in one transaction.

Sephora Opens Online Store In Malaysia

Beauty retailer Sephora opened its online store sephora.my in Malaysia. Sephora made the announcement of the store opening following its acquisition of local independent beauty online retailer Luxola. According to Sephora Asia president Anne-Veronique Bruel, by acquiring Luxola, Sephora gained access to an opportunity to expand into the local online beauty market and speed up the company’s growth in the country and in Southeast Asia.

Wal-Mart Suffers Setback In Bid To Catch Up With Online Rival Amazon

Wal-Mart’s global e-commerce sales grew 8 percent in the fourth quarter, which covered the months of November 2015 to January 2016. Despite the retailer’s efforts to ramp up online sales and narrow the gap with rival Amazon, growth was at its slowest during the quarter. To help boost online sales, Wal-Mart plans to expand its online offerings and increase the number of stores where online shoppers can pick up their orders.

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February 01, 2016, to February 15, 2016

Wal-Mart Shutters Express Concept; Finds Urban Expansion Dream Elusive

Wal-Mart’s move to close its Wal-Mart Express stores highlights the retailer’s preference to operate large-format stores. In 2011, Wal-Mart designed its Express stores as a means to launch its business in urban centers. Wal-Mart’s efforts to open locations in major cities, such as New York and Washington, D.C., have faced opposition.

Amazon's Physical-Store Plans Create Seismic Shocks For Brick-And-Mortar Retail Market

Reports of Amazon’s plan to open 300 to 400 brick-and-mortar stores caused significant speculation on the online retailer’s future business strategies and their implications for the retail market. Discussion among market observers focused on how Amazon could use technology and data analytics to innovate in the physical-stores sector. Wharton management professor Daniel Raff said Amazon’s brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle offers some insights into the online retailer’s future plans.

Younger Consumers Prefer Mobile Shopping, Study Reveals

Generation Z consumers are four times more likely to use their mobile phones to buy online, compared with Baby Boomers, according to the “GfK FutureBuy 2015” report. Results of the study revealed women are more likely to use mobile devices at 32 percent share of shopping, compared with men at 22 percent share. Data also revealed younger generations tend to use mobile devices when making online purchases, compared with consumers from the older age groups. Also, consumers’ previous experience and in-store environment are the most important factors influencing online buying behavior.
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