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Amazon Plans To Test Drone Delivery Service In India

August 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon plans to test its drone delivery service in India, according to media reports. With fewer regulations covering unmanned aerial devices, India is deemed more attractive as a test site for the delivery service earlier proposed by the online retailer for US customers. Designed to deliver packages immediately and doing without the need for conventional shipping services, Amazon’s Prime Air drone service failed to launch due to various regulatory issues, including airspace safety, communications frequencies, and privacy. Amazon aims to launch the service before the Diwali festival, which starts in October and is an importance shopping holiday in India.
Laura Lorenzetti, "Amazon may be flying to India to test drone deliveries", Fortune, August 20, 2014, © Time Inc.
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Amazon Expands China Operations By Setting Up Facilities In Shanghai Free Trade Zone

August 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com, Inc. is expanding its operations in China by establishing its presence in the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone. Based on its deal with the zone operator, Shanghai Information Investment Inc., Amazon will set up its China headquarters in the free trade zone. Also, the company hopes its move will enable it to increase its customer base in the country. Amazon will also establish a warehouse so it can increase exports from Chinese companies, Shanghai Municipal said. Amazon, however, faces strong competition from Alibaba’s ecommerce stores Tmall and Taobao.
Larry Darrell, "Amazon Ramps Up China Presence", Bidness, August 20, 2014, © Bidness Etc
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Walmart Adds Price Comparison And Rebate Feature To Mobile Shopping App

August 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart added the Savings Catcher feature to its mobile app, allowing shoppers to scan the code on their Walmart receipt. Within 72 hours after the receipt is scanned, Walmart checks the products purchased and compares the prices with those offered by rival retailers. Consumers will receive a Walmart Rewards eGift Card as rebate if a lower price is offered by another retailer. Aside from highlighting Walmart’s cheaper prices, the program also encourages shoppers to return to a Walmart store.
Chuck Martin, "Walmart & Teaching the Masses to Scan", MediaPost, August 18, 2014, © MediaPost Communications
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Tesco Launches In-Store Pickup Service For Click-And-Collect Shoppers In London

August 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco began pilot testing click-and-collect lockers at two stores in Greater London area. The first stores in the UK to offer the service, the Yiewsley and Bromley locations will each feature 40 lockers. According to the retailer, the service will allow shoppers to collect online orders from the lockers with security codes Tesco sent them via SMS messages to their mobile phones, with orders placed before 3:00pm available for pickup on the following day.
Ben Cooper, "Tesco launches click-and-collect locker pilot in two London stores", Retail Week, August 18, 2014, © EMAP Publishing Limited Company
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Alda Reports Slight Like-For-Like Sales Growth, Strong Gains In Market Share

August 14, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Alda reported like-for-like sales grew 0.5 percent for the second quarter of 2014. Also, Walmart’s UK business unit’s grew its share of the UK retail market, which has been characterized by difficult trading conditions, by 14bps year on year. Asda president and CEO Andy Clarke said his company had quickly recognized the “structural changes” happening in the retail market and promptly set out to deal with them with its five-year strategy launched in November 2013. Also noteworthy is the retailer’s success in expanding its share of the online market to 18.4 percent, driven by the expansion of its Click and Collect program, which currently accounts for 10 percent of all online orders and used by more than 20,000 customers each week.
"Asda announces Q2 2014 financial results - continued sales growth ahead of the market", Asda, August 14, 2014, © Asda Stores Limited
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Digital Trends Are Rapidly Changing The Retail Grocery World In Australia

August 13, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Nielsen predicts that the Australian grocery retail landscape will look a lot different in three years, thanks to the influence of several trends. Internet penetration is approaching saturation, more and more consumers are using connected devices, and attitudes toward online purchasing are evolving. As a result, “brick-and-mortar” groceries are scrambling to establish a digital presence. Perhaps the biggest challenge for grocery companies is how to maintain shopper loyalty. Sixty-four percent of shoppers already visit more than one of the four major retail chain stores in any given week. Shopper loyalty is splintered even more online, where there is more choice and a vastly different shopping environment, according to Nielsen. Complicating the picture is the fact that consumers often combine online and traditional shopping to buy groceries.
Shane Scacco, "Online grocery retailing: Trend predictions for 2017", Report, Nielsen, August 13, 2014, © The Nielsen Company
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Men More Likely Than Women To Shop Online, Study Reveals

August 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
In the United States, 40 percent of men 18–34 years old said they prefer to purchase online, according to the results of market research firm BI Intelligence’s analysis of findings by other research firms, including comScore and SeeWhy. Although women are perceived to control up to 85 percent of household spending in the country, results showed men account for online spending almost as much as women do. Data also showed 22 percent of men made online purchases using their smartphones in 2013, while only 18 percent of women said they did. Also, 20 percent of men used their tablets to buy online, while only 17 percent of women did. BI Intelligence also said 43 percent of men aged 18–24 usually shopped at online auction sites, such as eBay, compared with 31 percent of women.
"Men are more likely to shop online", Warc, August 08, 2014, © Warc
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Lancome Wins Big With Elite Rewards Loyalty Program

August 6, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal’s brand Lancome’s Elite Rewards loyalty program saw 60 percent of its members performing at least one action, such as shopping or connecting to the brand on social media sites, per month. Using the CrowdTwist customer relations management technology platform, the program also recorded an increase in monthly customer sign-ups of more than 40 percent. Lancome said it aims to focus on connecting with consumers via social media and promote its loyalty program, with the beauty brand awarding 25 points to members who connect their account to the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. For every dollar they spend online, Elite Rewards members get 10 points. They can also win minor rewards by watching branded videos or participating in email and direct mail programs.
Lauren Johnson, "Lancome Is Getting a 60% Monthly Action Rate With New Loyalty Program", Adweek, August 06, 2014, © Adweek
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Tesco Launches Word-Of-Mouth Campaign For Direct Product Line In UK

August 5, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco partnered with social selling technology firm Buyapowa to launch a word-of-mouth social selling campaign for its Direct lineup of products in the UK. Leveraging its previous experience in social selling with its grocery business, Tesco aims to use the campaign to let customers avail themselves of deals and rewards from pre-orders of newest video games, such as potential game of the year Destiny. Prizes, including free games, merchandise, and bonus content, will also be offered for shoppers with the most number of referrals. A winner of Garner Cool Vendor commendation, Buyapowa’s technology enables brands to engage and reward customers.
Fiona Briggs , "Tesco launches social selling campaign with social technology platform Buyapowa", Retail Times, August 05, 2014, © RetailTimes.co.uk
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Walmart Canada's Free Shipping Offer For Online Buyers Redefines Market

August 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart Canada’s launch of free shipping service for all online purchases in 2013 signaled the company’s resolve to expand its online retail business and compete with other retailers in the country. With its ability to offer free shipping to 97 percent of the country, Walmart enjoys a huge advantage over its smaller rivals, which are likely to find it hard to absorb shipping costs. Walmart Canada’s now offers 175,000 items and counts about 400,000 visitors a day. Also, the company plans to launch its click and collect service, which will allow Ontario customers to buy online and pick up items from lockers at designated stores or at the retailer’s headquarters.
Linda Nguyen, "Free shipping may be the new normal as competition heats up", The Globe and Mail, August 04, 2014, © The Globe and Mail Inc.
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Walmart Adds Personalization Features To Its Online Store

August 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart added several new features to its website designed to enhance the online store’s personalization options. As part of the forthcoming redesign of the online store, the website’s homepage will include updates on local weather and events depending on the customer’s location. Also, the retailer plans to reduce the number of web pages included in the online checkout process.
Jennifer Faull, "Walmart follows in Amazon’s footsteps and introduces personalisation to website", The Drum, August 04, 2014, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Sephora Looks At Technology To Enhance Brick-And-Mortar Business

August 1, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Cosmetics retailer Sephora looks at technology as a means of bridging its online business with its brick-and-mortar operations, according to the company’s chief marketing officer and chief digital officer Julie Bornstein. Use of touchscreen displays that feature ecommerce data and other features of the company’s new flagship store in New York City highlight this approach. While acknowledging the benefits of using ecommerce data about what customers want, Bornstein said in-store applications of technology can also provide retailers and brands with data that can never be collected online. Bornstein emphasized this by citing Sephora’s partnership with Pantone to create its Color IQ skin tone matching platform.
Issie Lapowsky , "How Cosmetics Giant Sephora Plans to Survive Retail in a Digital Age", Wired.com, August 01, 2014, © Condé Nast
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Amazon Unit Zappos Tests Digital Shopping Assistant

July 28, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Zappos, a division of Amazon, is testing its Ask Zappos customer service. Designed to function as a personal shopping assistant, the service takes requests by processing images and looks for the product even if the retailer does not carry it. Ask Zappos allows customers to send images via Instagram or by a text message. It then returns a list of links to shopping sites.
Jill Krasny, "Zappos' New Secret Weapon: Personal Shopping ", Inc., July 28, 2014, © Mansueto Ventures LLC.
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Walmart Launches B2B Ecommerce Business In India

June 29, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart plans to launch its business-to-business ecommerce pilot project in India in the first week of July 2014. Currently operating 20 cash-and-carry stores in the country, Walmart said it will start operating its ecommerce pilot in Lucknow and Hyderabad. Expecting its ecommerce revenue to grow 30 percent from its global operations, Walmart said it aims to engage with other users in addition to the about 15,000 registered users each of its Indian store has. Walmart will launch the ecommerce pilot through its existing Best Price website, with delivery operations to be handled by local logistics service providers.
Anusha Soni , "Walmart eyes 30k consumers through its e-commerce pilot", Business Standard, June 29, 2014, © Business Standard Ltd.
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Amazon's Fire Phone Highlights Online Retailer's Expansion Moves

June 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com’s launch of the Fire Phone smartphone on June 18, 2014, highlights the company’s expansion and transformation from an online book retailer into a giant of the ecommerce world. The latest in the company’s lengthening line of devices used by Amazon to “anticipate and respond” to changes in how consumers read, shop, and entertain themselves, the Fire Phone comes with the Firefly button, which provides cloud-based information about what the phone sees or hears — a song perhaps, or a TV show. Most importantly, for the online retailer, it tells phone users how to buy it from Amazon. Forecast to become the world’s second-largest retailer in terms of sales by 2018, according to Kantar Retail, Amazon, which reported total revenue of $74.5 billion in 2013, sells 230 million items in the United States. It also launched the Kindle ereader and ebook business and Amazon Web Services cloud computing operations.
"Amazon Relentless.com: At 20 Amazon is bulking up. It is not—yet—slowing down", The Economist, June 21, 2014, © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2014
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Leading Retailers Join Initiative Seeking To Display Prices Of Products Sold Online

June 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Some of the largest supermarkets and drugstores in the United States agreed to post prices of their products on their websites and mobile apps. Promoted by the office of New York’s attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman, the initiative includes leading retailers Walmart, CVS and Costco; however, online retail giant Amazon.com refused to participate in the initiative. At present, 19 states and the District of Columbia require stores to display the prices of products they sell.
Elizabeth A. Harris, "Big Retailers Agree to List Unit Prices on Websites", The New York Times, June 17, 2014, © The New York Times Company
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Wal-Mart Announces B2B Online Market For India

June 13, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. plans to launch a business-to-business ecommerce marketplace in India in the first week of July 2014, according to Wal-Mart India CEO Krish Iyer. To be located in the cities of Lucknow and Hyderabad, the online service will be exclusively offered to trader members and is likely to be expanded to cover 18 more urban centers across the country. After suspending its plan to launch its retail business in India, Wal-Mart said it plans to open 50 more wholesale stores in the next 4–5 years.
Aditi Shah, "UPDATE 1-Wal-Mart to launch e-commerce marketplace in India in July", Reuters, June 13, 2014, © Thomson Reuters
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Trade And Transportation Jobs Account For Large Chunk Of New U.S. Employment

June 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
In the United States, companies from the trade, transportation, and utilities category account for an increasing proportion of jobs being created, according to government employment data. In the past 12 months, the trade and transportation sectors created almost 576,000 new jobs, more than 20 percent of the 2.4 million jobs created during the period. These developments led some economists to declare that, at present, the economy is an Amazon.com company. With 124,600 employees, the online retail giant account for about 1 out of every 4 workers in the non-store retailers segment. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest the trend is likely to continue for some time.
Stephen Gandel, "It's an Amazon.com economy, now", Fortune, June 12, 2014, © Dow Jones Indices LLC
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Alibaba Launches US Online Store; Promises Support For Small Businesses

June 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
China’s online retail giant Alibaba launched its 11Main.com online shopping hub in the United States. With a name invoking main streets across the country, the invitation-only online marketplace will feature fashion products, jewelry, and home products from selected boutique sellers. 11Main’s emphasis on merchants offering specialty items highlights its support for small businesses, the company said.
Contessa Gayles, "Alibaba makes U.S. debut with 11 Main", CNN Money, June 11, 2014, © Cable News Network
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eBay Launches Online Market For U.S. Fashion Designers

June 10, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
E-commerce giant eBay launched the Designer Collective, an online marketplace which features and sells products from 16 American fashion designers, such as Calvin Klein, Nicole Miller, and Rebecca Minkoff. eBay’s online fashion hub will let these designers own and manage their own online shops selling their latest fashion collections. With more than 145 million active users, eBay claims its online store can help these brands reach more potential customers. In return, these fashion stores will bring in new users to eBay, and help it rebrand itself into something more than an online auction site.
Carey Dunne, "EBay Launches New Shops For Major Fashion Designers", Fast Company, June 10, 2014, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC.
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Wal-Mart Expects 30 Percent Growth For Online Revenue In FY 2015

June 9, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer and operator of almost 4,000 stores in the U.S. alone, said it hopes to see a 30 percent growth for its ecommerce revenue in 2014. With online retail sales in the country growing 9 percent in 2013 and forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 9.5 percent until 2018, Wal-Mart can also count on its omni-channel initiatives, improved product variety offered online, and enhanced delivery efficiency. Also, the retailer is confident it can use its presence and network across the country in competing strongly against online retail giant Amazon. After growing 27 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, Wal-Mart’s online revenue trends imply the company is likely to hit its online revenue growth target.
Trefis Team, "Wal-Mart Expects 30% Rise In E-Commerce Revenues This Year", Forbes, June 09, 2014, © Forbes.com LLC™
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Wal-Mart Expands Online Price Matching Tool Across U.S.

June 5, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it plans to expand its Savings Catcher online price-matching tool to cities across the United States. Also, the world’s largest retailer plans to expand the product range covered by the online tool, including TVs, shirts, vegetables, and other produce. Also, Wal-Mart customers can now use Savings Catcher on the retailer’s mobile app. Wal-Mart’s move comes after the company’s U.S. discount division reported revenue declines for five consecutive quarters, and a drop in the number of shoppers for six quarters straight.
Anne D’Innocenzio, "Wal-Mart to expand online savings tool nationwide", Yahoo, June 05, 2014, © Yahoo - ABC News Network
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Unilever Executives Study Amazon's Proposed Drone Delivery Service

May 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever executives in India witnessed a demonstration by online retailer Amazon of its proposed delivery service using unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. During the videoconference, Amazon executives demonstrated the UAV-delivery service first described by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in his letter outlining the company’s Prime Air delivery service. According to a Bangalore-based Unilever executive, his company has no immediate plans to adopt the drone delivery concept proposed by Amazon.
"HUL executives check Amazon's drone delivery mode", Economic Times, May 20, 2014, © Times Internet Limited
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Amazon Invests Further In Warehouses, Distribution Centers

May 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon is expanding its network of warehouses and distribution centers in the United States to strengthen its reign as the country’s leader in online retail. Spending $13.9 billion on order-fulfillment infrastructure, which includes 50 new distribution centers, in 2010 to 2013, the online retail giant is eyeing further expansion moves and seeking ways to speed up deliveries of online orders, which include same-day deliveries, to online shoppers’ homes. Other initiatives launched by Amazon as part of its efforts to grab a bigger share of the overall retail market include the Prime Pantry service for members of its loyalty program and the AmazonFresh grocery business.
Barbara Thau, "Amazon's Warehouse Expansion Goes Unabated As A Means To Unchallenged Dominance", Forbes.com, May 16, 2014, © Forbes.com LLC
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Five U.S. Large Stores Push Online Retail Operations

May 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
In the United States, five large store brands plan to expand their online retail operations. With online orders accounting for almost half of its business, office supply retailer Staples plans to close around 225 stores by end of 2014 and will instead focus on online retail. Retail giant Wal-Mart’s online sales grew faster than Amazon’s for the first time in 2013. Consumer electronics brand Apple has become the country’s second-largest online retailer behind Amazon with its revenue of $18.3 billion in online sales. Electronics retailer Best Buy transformed itself into an “online first” retailer by implementing several initiatives, such as updating the company’s website, launching a loyalty program that works with the website, and starting the Athena big data project. Retailer Target hopes its online retail projects, which include a partnership with Google, will help it overcome negative consumer reactions to a recent data breach and an employee rant, which has gone viral on Gawker.
Marc Sollinger, "Five big stores that are moving online", Marketplace.org, May 16, 2014, © AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA
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FedEx's Revised Rates Help Amazon Beat Smaller Online Retail Rivals

May 9, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Shipping company FedEx’s plan to revise its shipping rates to charge based on the size of a package and not just its weight is likely to help Amazon.com in competing against smaller Internet retailers. Further demonstrating how Amazon.com’s size is helping it to expand its share of the online retail market, this development has also seen FedEx adding incentives for the online retail giant to keep using its service. With the huge volume of business it brings, Amazon is able to negotiate its own shipping rates with FedEx and other shipping companies. To deal with this FedEx move, online retailers are expected to use shipping boxes smaller than the ones they are currently using.
Claire Cain Miller, "FedEx’s Price Rise Is a Blessing in Disguise for Amazon", New York Times, May 09, 2014, © The New York Times Company
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Amazon Expands Sunday Delivery Service To Several Cities In The U.S.

May 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said it has expanded its Sunday delivery service to include 15 cities more in the United States. Coming six months after Amazon’s signing of a deal with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver products to customers in New York and Los Angeles on Sundays, the service will now become available for customers in other cities, including Houston, Philadelphia, and Indianapolis. Other initiatives recently launched by Amazon to expand sales include expansion of same-day delivery to more cities and the launch of a food and kitchen supply service for users of its Prime program.
Seth Fiegerman, "Amazon Expands Sunday Delivery to 15 More Cities", Mashable, May 08, 2014, © Mashable
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Millions Could Be Saved By Taking A Fresh Look At Direct Store Delivery Systems

April 30, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Honeywell report based on a survey of 350 C-level consumer goods execs and  directors from around the world says that millions of dollars could be saved annually if companies would re-evaluate their transportation systems using process re-engineering. Organizations that have tried process evaluations to improve direct store delivery (DSD) – how products are ordered, sold, delivered and merchandised – have cut costs an average of $734,000 a year. At least half the companies surveyed said increased transportation costs have damaged profit margins. Twenty percent said they expect to save a minimum of $1 million through DSD process re-engineering. Those with 3,000 or more employees expect to save at least $3 million.
"Direct Store Delivery ‘Can Save $3M Annually’", Environmental Leader, April 30, 2014, © Environmental Leader LLC.
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Amazon Tests Own Product Delivery Services

April 24, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. is testing in San Francisco its in-house delivery network, focusing on the final step in delivering products to consumers’ homes. Aimed at reducing the costs of delivery and enhancing control over how its products are shipped from its warehouses to consumers, the program will help Amazon achieve same-day delivery of products purchased. Also, this move poses serious threat to the online retailer’s current providers of parcel delivery services —United Parcel Service Inc., FedEx Corp, and the U.S. Postal Service. At the same time, it also serves to preempt the challenge posed by rivals Wal-Mart Stores Inc., eBay Inc., and Google Inc., which are currently conducting tests of their respective delivery systems. Moving its delivery services in house will transform Amazon into a full-service logistics company, which may eventually offer such services to other sellers, according to former executives of the online retailer.
Greg Bensinger And Laura Stevens, "Amazon, in Threat to UPS, Tries Its Own Deliveries", Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Walmart Studies Click And Collect At Asda Store

April 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is evaluating the pilot “click and collect” program at the Asda store in Pudsey, England, for lessons that the retailer can possibly adopt for its grocery operations in the United States. Designed to allow shoppers to pick up their purchases from temperature-controlled lockers, the program also involves lockers with three temperature-based zones: chilled, frozen, and ambient. With the UK more advanced than the US in terms of online grocery shopping, Asda can help its parent company in determining which technologies and strategies to adopt in the home market. Click and collect is expected to grow at a much faster rate than home delivery in the UK, according to consulting firm OC&C.
Andrea Felsted, "Walmart’s English experiment", Financial Times, April 21, 2014, © The Financial Times Limited
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Costco Launches International Ecommerce Site Developed By Reply And Hybris Software

April 2, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Costco Wholesale Corporation launched its international ecommerce website, Costco.com.mx, developed by digital media-based enterprise solutions provider Reply and SAP company hybris software. Reponsible for deploying Costco’s first ecommerce platform in the UK in 2012, Reply partnered with hybris software to build the international site using the blueprint from the UK site. Fully integrated with Costco’s warehouse management system, which runs Reply’s in-house software-as-a-service technology WMS SideUp Reply, the ecommerce site lets the retailer manage orders and monitor stock levels efficiently and reliably.
"Costco selects Reply and hybris to implement its new international ecommerce site", Reply.eu, April 02, 2014, © Reply
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Tom Ford Launches Online Retail Store

March 25, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Fashion and cosmetics retailer Tom Ford launched its online store, allowing its loyal customers to buy products, such as the Shanghai Lily Private Blend perfume, directly from the manufacturer. Featuring the kind of photography the company has been known for, the online store includes a feature allowing shoppers to zoom in on products, such as eye shadows and blushes, making it easy to choose products. Also, by hovering their computer mice or cursors over some colors, shoppers can see sexy GIF, such as that of a woman biting her lip. The website also offers content, which includes news and updates about the company’s various brands.
Ruthie Friedlander , "Tom Ford Launches E-Commerce", Elle, March 25, 2014, © Hearst Communications, Inc
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Online Retailers In China Close Stores Selling Brand-Name Cosmetic Knockoffs

March 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
In response to customer complaints and a Chinese television report, Amazon China and online retailer China Dangdang have closed online stores purportedly selling fake brand-name skincare products. Dangdang shut two stores and refunded customer payments unconditionally.  Amazon said it had closed the stores in February after receiving complaints from customers. The fake products were knockoffs of L'Oréal and Estée Lauder cosmetics that were priced far lower than the real things. A representative of one of the closed stores admitted that the knockoffs came from a wholesale market in Beijing.
Yang Jing, "Amazon, Dangdang shut down online stores selling fake skincare products", Global Times, March 20, 2014, © The Global Times
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Supermarkets In China Lose Market Share To Online Retailers

March 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarkets in China are facing growing competition from online retailers for their business, according to a report by the Communist Party-managed “Beijing Youth Daily” newspaper. According to the report, e-commerce has changed Chinese consumers’ buying behavior, adversely affecting traditional retailers’ business, with at least 80 percent of supermarkets and other retailers reporting higher management costs and declining gross margins. Since 2012, foreign-owned retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, and Tesco, have seen sales slowdown, forcing them to close some of their stores. These companies have focused on selling refrigerated and frozen products, which attract customers and offer higher gross margins; however, online retailers are also seeking to expand their presence in this segment.
"Supermarkets fighting losing battle with China's e-commerce", WantChinaTimes.com, March 18, 2014, © WantChinaTimes.com
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“Click-And-Collect” Grocery Shopping Gains Momentum In The Western World

March 9, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Retail grocery chains are finding that consumers are warming to the idea of buying food and other items on online, driving to the store and picking up their purchases at the curb. Customers may have been reluctant to try “click-and-collect” grocery shopping in the past, but times are changing.  Consumers immersed in e-commerce appear more comfortable with the idea of adding groceries to what they’re already buying online. Wegman’s in the Buffalo, N.Y., area is testing the service for a flat $10 fee; other chains in upstate N.Y. -- and around the U.S. -- are experimenting as well. The Wegman’s service was created in-house, but Dash’s Markets is trying  third-party provider Rosie App. The trend is gathering momentum in Canada and Western Europe and beginning to gain a foothold in large markets in the U.S.
Samantha Maziarz Christmann , "Online grocery shopping is nearly reality", The Buffalo News (New York), March 09, 2014, © The Buffalo News
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Walmart Plans To Launch An Electronic Marketplace In India

March 5, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
After suspending its retail expansion plans in India, Wal-Mart Stores is reportedly planning to launch an electronic marketplace in the country. According to sources, Walmart India has created a team tasked with developing the electronic marketplace that is expected to be similar to the business model currently used by online retailers Amazon and eBay Inc. After getting burned with licensing-related problems and allegations of bribery during the past two years, Walmart may have realized that expanding its business via the ecommerce route was relatively safer than the brick-and-mortar way. For example, the retailer will not have to secure numerous licenses required of businesses planning to set up retail stores in the country.
Rasul Bailay & Chaitali Chakravarty, "Walmart to expand in e-retailing in India, planning marketplace model akin to Amazon, eBay", Economic Times, March 05, 2014, © Times Internet Limited
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Icahn, eBay Founder Dispute Continues Over Online Company's Future

February 27, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Online auction and ecommerce firm eBay founder Pierre Omidyar called activist investor Carl Icahn a liar as the company’s management and Icahn continue to disagree over the company’s future directions. eBay rejected Icahn’s proposal for the company to spin off its PayPal online payment business, saying the board of directors has already considered the option and decided against it. Icahn, however, claimed the board is affected by conflicts of interest arising from the presence of board member Scott Cook, founder and shareholder of finance software firm Intuit. Icahn claims Intuit is a direct competitor of PayPal.
Dominic Rushe in New York, "Carl Icahn branded 'misleading' by Pierre Omidyar in bitter eBay row", The Guardian, February 27, 2014, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Sam's Club Launches Subscription Service To Compete With Amazon

February 26, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s warehouse club division Sam’s Club is testing My Subscription, a subscription service that allows customers to order products online. Online retailer Amazon.com Inc.’s expansion into fresh food, groceries, and basic consumer products reportedly prompted Sam’s Club to launch the subscription service. Although Sam’s Club denied it, the subscription service was apparently designed to compete with the online retailer’s Subscribe & Save program, which was launched in 2007. Covering 700 items, Sam’s Club’s pilot service includes free shipping but does not offer additional discounts, while Amazon’s subscription service offers discounts up to 15 percent depending on order size.
Shelly Banjo, "Sam's Club Testing Online Subscription Service as Threat From Amazon Grows", Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Walmart Hopes Its Technology Initiatives Will Help Grocery Shoppers Save Time And Money

February 26, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
WalmartLabs announced that it had acquired online grocery shopping and recipe grabber start-up Yumprint. The company’s Web site, iPhone app and browser extension allow customers to search for and save recipes from any Web site. WalmartLabs also announced it had launched a grocery delivery pilot project (Walmart To Go) in California and Colorado to see if customers would like being able to order groceries online and have them delivered to their homes or ready for pick-up at the local store for free.
Ben Galbraith, "Transforming Online Grocery Shopping with Yumprint", News release, WalmartLabs, February 26, 2014, © Walmart Stores Inc.
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Apple Builds Mobile Payment Empire

February 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Apple’s ecommerce business is the consumer electronics company’s fastest-growing business, with sales of non-Apple products through its online and mobile platforms growing 19 percent to $4.4 billion in the first quarter of 2014. Although most of the technology media’s attention is focused on Apple’s gadgets business, which includes the iPhone and iPad and the rumored iWatch and Apple TV devices, future growth for the company is likely to come from its online and mobile retail operations. Apple’s Touch ID security feature for iPhone smartphones and its iBeacon mobile retail marketing platform are designed to ensure safe, secure, and convenient option for consumers who want to use their smartphones as a mobile payment device.
Jim Edwards, "Apple Is Already Building Its Next Massive Business And No One Seems To Have Noticed", Business Insider, February 21, 2014, © Business Insider, Inc
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Wal-Mart's Expanding Online Business Brightens Up An Otherwise Bleak Fourth Quarter

February 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart highlighted its online business, which grew 30 percent to $10 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 and is expected to grow over $13 billion in the current fiscal year. During the company’s recent earnings call with investors and analysts, company CEO Doug McMillion said the company’s position of strength in the online business includes the “potential to create transformative growth in global e-commerce and mobile commerce.” Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon, for his part, said e-commerce added 30 basis points to same store sales, with the company posting its strongest Cyber Monday sales yet. Walmart’s expansion of its small-format stores is also expected to help boost the retailer’s online business and its efforts to provide shoppers with “omnichannel experience.”
Mike Troy , "E-commerce growth sharpens Walmart’s digital focus", Retailing Today, February 20, 2014, © Retailing Today
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Marks & Spencer Launches New Online Store

February 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Marks & Spencer launched its new online store, replacing the Amazon-developed platform it had been using since 2007. CEO Marc Bolland said the website is an integral part of the company’s £2.3 billion initiative to transform itself into an international retailer capable of connecting with customers via a multichannel platform, which includes brick-and-mortar stores, the internet, and mobile devices. Featuring product images with zoom views, catwalk, and 360-degree videos, the new website will work in tandem with the company’s ecommerce distribution center that opened at Castle Donington in May 2013.
"Marks & Spencer launches new website to replace Amazon platform", The Telegraph, February 18, 2014, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Ecommerce Company Rakuten Acquires Messaging App Viber

February 14, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Japan-based ecommerce company Rakuten said it has agreed to buy mobile messaging app Viber. Valued at $900 million, the deal would add 300 million users to Rakuten’s current 200 million users, according to company owner, billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani. Already the sixth largest ecommerce platform in the world, Rakuten Ichiba emphasizes its ability to connect with its customers, which the company believes gives it an edge over bigger rivals eBay and Amazon in Europe. In the past few years, Rakuten acquired ereader company Kobo, online video providers Wuaki.tv and Viki, and other ecommerce companies in several countries, including Brazil and Germany.
Alex Hern and agencies, "Viber bought by Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten for $900m", theguardian.com, February 14, 2014, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Third-Party Retailers Find It Profitable To Sell On Amazon's Marketplace

February 14, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
In 2013, online retailers saw increased earnings from selling their products on the Amazon marketplace. For example, online household and sporting goods retailer DealYard derived 79 percent of its $8.6 million total web sales from selling on online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, according to data from Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com report. Amazon did not release information on the dollar value of products sold on its online market; however, ChannelAdvisor Corp. CEO Scot Wingo estimated the online retailer’s gross merchandise value for 2013 at $140.6 billion. With Amazon taking an average of 10 percent cut from all third-party sales, it means the online retailer earned $14.1 billion, or about 19 percent of its $74.5 billion total sales in 2013, from third-party sellers. According to Internet Retailer’s estimates, this was 53 percent higher than the $9.2 billion estimate for 2012.
Bill Briggs, "Small retailers reap the benefits of selling on Amazon, but challenges remain", Internet Retailer, February 14, 2014, © Vertical Web Media
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LUSH Cosmetics Brand Wins Infringement Case Against Amazon.com

February 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The UK High Court ruled in favor with cosmetics company LUSH’s infringement lawsuit against online retailer Amazon.com. Filed in December 2014, the lawsuit alleged that Amazon committed trademarks infringement by diverting online consumers to similar products after searching for LUSH cosmetics, which are not sold by the online store. According to the court’s ruling, the online retailer can continue using the word “Lush” as a paid-for search term to produce advertisements for similar products. It cannot, however, use the word or imply that its online store sells LUSH cosmetics.
Sheila Shayon , "UK Court Sets Online Ad Precedent with LUSH Cosmetics Ruling Over Amazon", Brandchannel, February 12, 2014, © brandchannel
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Online Sales In UK Grows Fastest In Five Years, Study Reveals

February 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Online sales in the UK grew by 19.2 percent in January 2014, compared with the same month in 2013, according to the British Retail Consortium. Data from the KPMG-BRC Online Retail Sales Monitor also revealed online sales contributed 1.2 percent growth to total non-food sales in the country during the month, accounting for 17.4 percent of total non-food sales. Overall, retail sales grew 5.4 percent in January, compared with the same month in the previous year, with like-for-like sales rising 3.9 percent.
Chloe Rigby, "Online sales grow at strongest rate for five years", Internet Retailer, February 11, 2014, © SJP Business Media
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Retailers Seek Faster Growth By Combining Physical Stores With Online Operations

February 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Startup company Storefront offers brands an online marketplace that it claims combines the benefits of having a physical store with the advantages of online-only retail operations. Storefront’s concept allows brands to avoid overhead costs, including long-term leases, while offering consumers engaging, physical selling experiences. Before ecommerce had become widespread, brands would have to compete with each other for shelf space and access to customers. Online retail has weakened brick-and-mortar retailers, while empowering anyone with a product and a website to build their own sales channel. Online retailers, however, have discovered how physical stores can help drive sales and expand reach to new customers. Even online retail giant Amazon.com is reportedly planning to launch its own brick-and-mortar operations.
Dan Reich, Contributor, "How Retail Is Evolving In An On-Demand Economy", Forbes, February 11, 2014, © Forbes.com LLC
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Kroger Acquires Digital Coupons Company YOU Technology

February 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Kroger Co. acquired the assets of digital coupons and promotions company YOU Technology Brand Services, Inc. Established in 2008, YOU Technology offers retailers cloud-based technologies that help combine online engagement and in-store purchases. Also, the company helps retailers and brands promote their products and encourage consumers to buy online, in-store, and via their mobile gadgets. Despite the acquisition, YOU Technology said it plans to continue serving current and future retail customers.
"Kroger Announces Acquisition of YOU Technology", Kroger, February 11, 2014, © The Kroger Company
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Alibaba Spreads Wings In U.S. Market; Opens B2C Ecommerce Site

February 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
China’s leading ecommerce company Alibaba said it will launch its business-to-consumer site, 11 Main, in the United States. Set to launch its initial public offering in the U.S. that could put its value at more than $100 billion, according to market analysts, Alibaba said its subsidiaries Vendio and Auctiva will launch the online store to sell quality products from “handpicked shop owners.” Alibaba-owned online stores account for 80 percent of ecommerce in China, with revenues rising more than 50 percent to $1.7 billion in the last quarter. Slowdown in sales growth, however, prompted the company to search for new sources of revenue growth, which led it to expand its business in the U.S.
Charles Clover, "Alibaba to launch US ecommerce site", The Financial Times , February 11, 2014, © The Financial Times Limited
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Whole Foods Buys Start-Up’s Checkout Technology For Smartphones, Tablets

February 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods has contracted with start-up payments company Square to install its smartphone and credit card readers at several stores. Whole Foods is the second national chain – following Starbucks – to sign a deal with Square. The checkout stands allow speedier payment processing using smartphones (with an app) and tablets at fresh sandwich and coffee stations, but not at the main registers. Whole Foods, seven of whose stores have the readers installed,  hopes that having several of the stands in its stores will not only speed up the checkout process, it will also attract new customers.
Greg Bensinger, "Square Lands Payments Deal With Whole Foods", The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company
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