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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.

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January 15, 2016, to February 01, 2016

Amazon Finds Need To Rethink Marketing Deal With India's Future Group

Online retailer Amazon’s exclusive online marketing deal with India-based fashion and retail conglomerate Future Group is facing some significant challenges. According to sources, disagreements between the business partners focus on funding of discounts on Future Group’s fashion brands sold on Amazon. Amazon reportedly asked Future Group to shoulder part of the discounts offered to online shoppers or end the exclusive deal with the online retailer and list its products the way any other vendors would.

Amazon Reports Strong Sales And Revenue Growths In 4Q And Full-Year 2015

Online retailer Amazon.com, Inc., said operating cash flow jumped 74 percent to $11.9 billion for the year ending December 31, 2015, compared with the previous year. Free cash flow increased to $7.3 billion, compared with $1.9 billion for the year ending December 31, 2014. For the quarter ending December 31, 2015, net sales rose 22 percent to $35.7 billion, compared with $29.3 billion in the same quarter of 2014. Net sales grew 26 percent, excluding the $1.2 billion unfavorable impact of year-over-year charges in foreign exchange rates during the quarter. Net income was $482 million, or $1 per diluted share, compared with net income of $214 million, or $0.45 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Sephora Launches Online Store In Malaysia

Beauty retailer Sephora announced the launch of its online store in Malaysia on February 1, 2016. Aimed at Malaysian consumers who have gotten accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, the online store will offer hundreds of beauty brands and products, including makeup, bath and body, and nail care.

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January 01, 2016, to January 15, 2016

Ocado Shares Tumbles After Amazon's Grocery Expansion Plans In UK

Shares of stock of online grocery distributor Ocado declined following online retailer Amazon’s announcement of its plan to expand its Pantry grocery delivery service in the UK. Launched in November 2015, Pantry offers customers about 4,000 grocery and household products. Amazon UK chief executive Christopher North said his company plans to add thousands more to its product lineup.

Women Outnumber Men In Mobile Shopping, Study Reveals

Women account for 53.4 percent of mobile shoppers in the United States, with men making up 46.6 percent, according to Y&R. Data from the advertising firm revealed consumers between the ages 18 and 29 accounted for 31.7 percent of shoppers who prefer to use their mobile devices when doing research and purchasing products. Those who are in their 30 to 44 years made up 36.3 percent.

Sephora Looks At Amazon And Prestige Beauty Market For Growth Ideas

Beauty retailer Sephora Americas president and CEO Calvin McDonald said his company aims to further grow its business by integrating lessons it has learned from online retailer Amazon and the prestige beauty market. Stating that Sephora’s success depends on balancing exclusive, limited, and broad brands, McDonald said Amazon’s success as a mass merchant poses a threat to the beauty retail market. Sephora’s Beauty Tip Workshop strategy, which combines brick-and-mortar, mobile, and digital channels aims to help the company compete with the online retail giant.

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December 15, 2015, to January 01, 2016

Amazon.in Outshines Other E-commerce Sites In India In October 2015

Amazon.in became the most popular online store in India in October 2015, about two and a half years after its launch in the country, according to comScore. Data from the market research firm revealed Amazon’s Indian unit had more than 30 million visitors, an increase of almost 38 percent from the previous month. Also, downloads of the online retailer’s Amazon.in app increased 200 percent year-on-year in October 2015, according to app analytics firm App Annie.

Carrefour Launches E-Commerce Business In Poland

French retailer Carrefour launched its online business in Poland on December 18, 2015. Designed to complement the company’s existing retail formats, the website will offer about 800 non-food products, including mobile phones, TVs, and laptops. With delivery service costing €2.32, the site offers click-and-collect services only in Krakow.

Target Begins Developing Own Mobile Payment System

Target Corp. is reportedly developing its own mobile wallet technology. Designed to let shoppers pay for goods using an app on their mobile phones, the planned platform will allow the retailer to compete with rival mobile payment systems, such as the Apple Pay. Target decided to partner with credit card companies and plans to adopt scanning technology to communicate with payment terminals to process transactions.

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December 01, 2015, to December 15, 2015

Cyber Monday 2015 Online Shopping Breaches $3 Billion

Total consumer spending on Cyber Monday 2015 online shopping grew 21 percent to $3.1 billion, compared with the $2.5 billion spent by online shoppers in 2014, according to comScore. Data from the market research firm revealed total digital spending breached the $3 billion mark for the first time. Mobile commerce accounted for about 27 percent of the total, with consumers spending $838 million on online purchases made through their smartphones and tablets. Also, the weekend after Thanksgiving produced $1 billion in online shopping on a Sunday, also a first.

Hershey’s Kisses To Carry First Scannable SmartLabel

Holiday packages of Hershey’s Kisses will carry the SmartLabel QR code (tagged “Scan to Learn What’s Inside”), the first product that attempts to fulfill the American consumer’s desire for more transparency in food and beverage ingredients. The SmartLabel, sponsored by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, allows consumers with smartphones to scan a QR code on product packaging to access a webpage or speak to a company’s customer-service hotline. Ingredient information is available for nearly 30,000 participating products, from laundry detergents to cat food. Besides required basic nutritional information, the label discloses allergens, third-party certifications, GMOs, and extent of compliance with responsible sourcing, “fair trade” or “dolphin safe.”

Walmart Adds Payment Solution To Its Mobile App

Walmart has become the only retailer to offer its own smartphone payment solution. The company introduced Walmart Pay, a mobile solution that works with an iOS or Android device, and can be used at any checkout lane, with any major credit card card, debit card, prepaid card or Walmart gift card. To use the app, customers at checkout open the app, select Walmart Pay, activate the phone’s camera, scan the register code, then wait for the clerk to scan the items. An eReceipt is automatically sent. The solution will only be available in a few stores in Arkansas this month, but will be launched nationally in the first half of 2016. The Walmart app is already used by 22,000,000 customers each month.

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November 15, 2015, to December 01, 2015

Online Retailers Let Shoppers Try Products First At Home For Free

Some online retailers have adopted the try-before-you-buy approach to selling their products. Designed to let customers test out products for free at home before deciding whether to want to pay for them, try-before-you-buy offers retailers many benefits. This fulfillment method helps attract new customers, creates an image of having better customer service, and does not come with a lot of business risks. Some of the online retailers using the method include Warby Parker, which sells eyeglasses; True&Co, which sells bras; and Rocksbox, a seller of jewelries.

Jet.com Is Running Out Of Money, Wall Street Journal Reports

Online retailer Jet.com is running out of money, according to financial documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal newspaper. According to the newspaper, the company is trying to close its latest round of funding, which aims to raise as much as $550 million. Marketing costs account for majority of the company’s spending.

Pagar.me Payment System Offers Low Fees And Ease Of Use For Brazilian Online Customers

Brazil-based Pagar.me offers a low-cost and simple platform for customers to pay for goods online. Established by teenagers Henrique Dubrugras and Pedro Franceschi, the online payment platform combines the cheap rates offered by a third-party service with the ease of paying directly on the vendor’s website. Pagar.me does not require users to log in to another system. It takes a 1.5 percent charge from each online purchase and tax of a half a real. Also, clients pay a commission that varies from 3 percent to 5 percent to Pagar.me partners.

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November 01, 2015, to November 15, 2015

Karity Employs E-Commerce To Boost Direct-To-Consumer Selling

Karity is using online selling to grow its color cosmetics business. By adopting an online commerce platform, the startup seeks to use digital technology for its direct-to-consumer selling strategy. Like other startups in the beauty market, Karity aims to grow organically while keeping its advertising costs at a minimum and rely instead on word-of-mouth advertising. Also, Karity plans to launch a try-at-home program, which will allow customers to try its makeup and return the product if they do not want to keep it, for free.

Poshmark Partners With Fashion Labels To Launch Wholesale Program

Poshmark, an online peer-to-peer marketplace for previously owned fashion items, plans to launch a wholesale service. After raising $40.5 million in financing, Poshmark is launching the service to help fashion brands sell more and highlight its top sellers. Poshmark partnered with several fashion labels and under the wholesale program will let some of the marketplace’s top sellers buy merchandise from fashion labels at wholesale prices. Most items sold on the marketplace are second-hand clothing and accessories; however, between 10 percent and 20 percent of products sold were previously purchased wholesale, according to Poshmark co-founder and CEO Manish Chandra.

Carrefour Launches Shopping Drive Online Ordering System

France-based retailer Carrefour introduced the Shopping Drive online shopping service. Currently being tested at the Labege 2 shopping center, which is operated by Carrefour’s real estate unit Carmilla, the service allows consumers to order online from multiple retailers and pick up their goods from Carrefour’s Drive site. At present, Carrefour accounts for about half of the 20,000 products available through the online shopping service.

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October 15, 2015, to November 01, 2015

Birchbox Launches Own Line Of Cosmetics

Beauty subscription service company Birchbox said it will start selling its own makeup line. After making a name for itself by selling samples of established beauty brands and in a move to defend itself from beauty companies’ launch of their own subscription services, Birchbox is launching the LOC, or Love of Color, line of cosmetics products, including sets of lipstick and eye shadow. Developed by the company’s in-house team, two collections will be released each year, Birchbox said.

Jet.com Drops $50 Membership Fee, Lowers Discounts

Online retailer Jet.com said it is no longer requiring members to pay $50 in membership fees. In July 2015, the company launched its membership-based online store to compete with warehouse clubs, such as Sam’s Club and Costco. Also, the company aimed to compete with Amazon’s bulk products business by offering prices 10 percent to 15 percent lower than the lowest online prices. Although the company is losing its only source of profits, Jet.com founder Marc Lore is confident of generating profits by offering smaller discounts.

Unilever's Online Revenue Growth Outpaces Global Market 2-to-1

Unilever’s online sales across its business grew 40 percent, twice the global market’s 20 percent. Benefitting from its early ecommerce investments, Unilever expects to see ecommerce sales accounting for about 6 percent of its retail sales in 2015. UK and Ireland are accounting for a significant portion of Unilever’s ecommerce growth, with France as the company’s third largest online market. Growth in its online business helped boost Unilever’s revenue by 5.7 percent in the third quarter, the company said.

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October 01, 2015, to October 15, 2015

Target Adds More Rivals To Online Price-Match Lineup

Target Corp. expanded its price-matching campaign to include more rival retailers, such as Amazon.com and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. From October 1, 2015, Target.com will start matching prices from 29 online stores, as well as those of brick-and-mortar rivals, including CVS Health Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. Retailers have widely adopted price-match policies despite avoiding to make such offers previously due to bottom-line concerns.

Facebook Adds Online Shopping Features To Networking Site

Facebook Inc. is adding several advertising features to its online social networking site as part of its efforts to encourage users to shop using its app. Seeking to overcome users’ reluctance to make online purchases using their mobile phones, Facebook is working to make the process a faster and smoother experience. Features being tested by the company include ads that lead users to products without leaving the site.

Wal-Mart Holds On To Market Share With Three Strategies

Wal-Mart adopted three strategies for protecting its share of the retail market from online retailers. Leveraging its “everyday low price” policy, the company added the Savings Catcher feature to its mobile app which enables customers to verify that the goods they bought are lowest priced at Wal-Mart. Also, the retailer offers unmatched convenience to consumers by combining ease of online shopping with local pickup option through its network of local stores. Wal-Mart’s mobile app has become one of the most popular in the retail segment, with consumer adoption driven by the app’s Savings Catcher feature to reach 22 million users as of June 2015.

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September 15, 2015, to October 01, 2015

Indian Startup Aims To Offer Subscription-Based Products And Services For Men

The Man Company, a content-based subscription e-commerce platform for men’s grooming products, launched its service in the India market. Supported by a number of angel investors, including Microsoft India managing director Karan Bajwa and Airbnb India country manager Amapreet Bajaj, the company aims to offer male consumers in the country “convenience and choice” by integrating technology, high-end products, and high-quality content. According to the company, it seeks to meet the need for a brand and services exclusively for men. This also prompted the company to create its own brand of products for men, who currently face a limited range of choices in brands and products.

Target Tests Fast Grocery Delivery Service In Minneapolis

Target launched a speedy grocery delivery service in the Minneapolis area. Part of the retailer’s partnership with on-demand grocery delivery service provider Instacart, the service can deliver groceries purchased online from Target within an hour. Also, the partnership will enable shoppers to buy certain household, health and beauty, pet, and beauty products from Target’s online store.

Google Launches Android Pay Mobile Payment In US

Google launched the Android Pay mobile payment platform in the United States. Expected to compete directly with Samsung Pay, Android Pay has recruited a number of large retailers, including Macy’s, Subway, and Walgreens. Allowing Android phone users to pay with their smartphone at more than 1 million retail shops across the country, Android Pay also allows users to store gift cards, loyalty cards, and special offers on their phone.

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September 01, 2015, to September 15, 2015

Amazon Expands Its Dash Button Re-Ordering Program

Amazon is expanding its one-click Dash Button program by offering more product brands, making it free, and expanding it to all customers. Dash Buttons for specific products allow users to simply press a button in the home to re-order detergent, trash bags, chewing gum, etc. – 18 brands so far -- via a smartphone. Amazon is not sharing any numbers related to the program, but the expansion indicates the initial phase of its “Internet of things” strategy is a success. The next phase is the incorporation of Dash Buttons into appliances and hardware, such as dishwashers (detergent), printers (toner) and water filters.

Florida Grocery Chain Goes Full Tilt Into Online Cake Ordering

Florida-based Publix Super Markets is now offering cakes on their Web site that can be picked up at any of their 1,103 stores in six states. The company does not offer wedding cakes as part of the service, because of their intricacy. But customers can order “decadent dessert cakes" or "special-edition cakes" online. Industry analysts say the idea of ordering online has been tried and abandoned a couple of times by Publix and other grocers for logistical reasons. But now retail chains are feeling competitive pressure to provide online ordering convenience as Internet retailers like Amazon.com tiptoe into food ordering and delivery.

India Trails Other BRIC Countries In Terms Of Online Shopping Penetration

In India, only 14 percent of Internet users shop online, according to a report by consulting firm EY. In contrast, between 30 and 35 percent of Internet users in Brazil and Russia and 55 percent in China buy things from online stores. Data from the report also revealed the value of online transactions in India is about 70 percent lower than any of the other BRIC countries.
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