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Unilever Indonesia Joins Local Online Shopping Platform Blibli.com

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
PT Unilever Indonesia has opened a Unilever Anchor Store on local online shopping website, Blibli.com. According to Unilever Indonesia e-commerce manager Hira Triadi, all of the company's products are featured on the online store. Through the online store, Unilever Indonesia hopes to widen its reach to include millennials and consumers who like using social media.
"Unilever anchor store added to Blibli.com", The Jakarta Post, May 18, 2017, © PT. Niskala Media Tenggara
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PepsiCo Expands E-Commerce Relationship With China’s Alibaba Platform

May 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo’s China unit has extended its marketing relationship with giant online and mobile commerce company Alibaba with a new strategic agreement. The company said the pact is an effort to expand its own e-commerce capabilities while enhancing customer online experiences. PepsiCo will take full advantage of Alibaba's platform and data “to carry out more innovative experiments” and “perfect PepsiCo's products and services.” Cooperation with Alibaba began five years ago in the e-commerce segment when PepsiCo established a flagship store on Tmall  It has launched several online marketing campaigns, including the 2016 Super Brand Day, Quaker's co-branded campaign with Tmall, and Kumamon-branded Lay's gift campaign during Chinese New Year. [ Image credit: © PepsiCo  ]
"PepsiCo Signs Strategic Agreement with Alibaba Group", News release, PepsiCo, May 11, 2017, © PepsiCo
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Feds Crack Down On Misleading Social Media Celebrity Product Endorsements

May 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Federal Trade Commission has warned companies that use celebrity endorsers on social media – notably Instagram – must disclose that the endorsements, which include photos of celebrities displaying products, are paid and not voluntary. The agency sent 90 letters to brand holders and endorsers allegedly in violation of federal law. Companies notified included dietary supplement firms, personal care brands, food companies and consumer goods companies like Adidas and Puma. Endorsers included Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell, Allen Iverson, Jennifer Lopez, and former NFLer James Harrison. FTC guidelines say a company that has a “business relationship” with a celebrity endorser should “clearly and conspicuously” disclose that relationship in the endorsement ad. [ Image credit: © FTC.gov ]
Hank Schultz, "FTC Tells Companies, 'Influencers' to disclose when Instagram Posts are Ads", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, May 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Target Tests Next-Day Home Delivery In Minneapolis

May 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Though retailer Target offers free in-store pickup for online orders, the store feels it needs to do more to keep up with competitors Amazon and Walmart, so it has begun an experiment with next-day home delivery of household staples. The company is testing the new service among employees in the headquarters city of Minneapolis, and will expand the test there later in the summer to the general public. For the pilot test, employees using a company debit or credit card will be limited to two 45-pound boxes of household goods, including laundry detergent, paper towels, granola bars and coffee. If the test succeeds, customers who use the Target Restock program will be charged “a low, flat fee,” according to the company. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Roger Yu , "Target to launch next-day delivery of household goods", USA Today, May 09, 2017, © USA Today
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Survey Puts Amazon, Google At Top Of Beloved Consumer Brands List

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Digital media and survey research firm Morning Consult says the two “most loved” consumer brands in the U.S. are Amazon and Google, followed by Campbell Soup, Hershey Company, UPS, FedEx, Sony, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Google unit YouTube. The rankings are based on 200,000 interviews that covered 27 consumer brand sectors. In the food and beverage category, beer is led by Heineken, followed by Budweiser and Samuel Adams. Among restaurants, Baskin Robbins is the leader, followed by Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. And Kroger edges out Whole Foods in the grocery category. [ Image credit: © Daniel Iversen ]
Tanya Gazdik, "Amazon, Google 'Most Loved' Brands", MediaPost, May 03, 2017, © MediaPost Communications
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Get Revenge On Internet Trollers With A Cake

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
People victimized by Internet trolls and their hateful online comments can repay the perps with a cake, as long as they know the troller’s actual physical address. For a fee of $35, Brooklyn’s Troll Cakes Bakery and Detective Agency will bake a cake, decorate it with the troll’s hateful words, and then deliver it right to their door. Even if they don’t know the address – this is where the “detective agency” takes over – for $60 the service will research an unknown address and take it from there. The company even has a service for Donald Trump haters: it will decorate a cake with a customer’s favorite Trump tweet (or nasty comment) and send it to the White House. It’s called the “Tiny Hands Special.”  [ Image credit: © TrollCakes.com  ]
Ben Hooper, "Bakery Returns Online Trolls' Comments to them in Cake Form", United Press International, May 01, 2017, © United Press International, Inc.
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Amazon.com Posts Strong Sales Numbers In 1Q 2017

April 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com, Inc., reported operating cash flow jumped 53 percent to $17.6 billion for the trailing 12 months ending March 31, 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year. Free cash flow grew to $10.2 billion, compared with $6.7 billion in the previous year. In the first quarter of 2017, net sales grew 23 percent to $35.7 billion, compared with $29.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Operating income dropped 6 percent to $1.0 billion in the first quarter, compared with $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
"Amazon.com Announces First Quarter Sales up 23% to $35.7 Billion", Amazon, April 27, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Fast-Growing U.K. Beauty Services Venture Gets Cash Infusion From Unilever

April 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Ventures is putting $4.5 million into rapidly expanding London-based on-demand beauty services provider Blow Ltd. to facilitate the company’s expansion to other U.K. cities and to the Continent. Blow, which has been expanding at a rate of 20 percent a month, is based on an advanced technology platform that allows customers to book time-saving, at-home beauty appointments using its website or smartphone app. The company calls it a reinvention of the service experience that also creates a new product distribution channel. Three-fourths of the app users are busy women looking to save time by having beauticians, manicurists, etc., come to the home. [ Image credit: © Blow Ltd  ]
Natalie Theodosi, "Britain’s Blow Secures Unilever Ventures Investment, Plans Expansion", Women’s Wear Daily, April 27, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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“Blessed” Panera Streamlines Food Ordering, Ramps Up Delivery

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich says his company is “blessed” because it has not only applied the principle of “digital utilization” to streamlining the ordering process, its menu – soups, salads, sandwiches – is perfect for easy delivery to homes and businesses. This blessing has meant that the company can reduce the number of workers handling food, but has to hire 10,000 delivery people by the end of 2017, as it adds delivery services to as many as 40 percent of its eateries this year. The streamlining process, known as Panera 2.0, has meant changes across the board, including redesigned kitchens and reworked assembly lines, plus implementation of new ordering technology like digital kiosks. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Kate Taylor, "Panera is Replacing Cashiers with Robots — but it's Hiring Thousands of Workers for Another Task", Business Insider, April 24, 2017, © Business Insider Inc.
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Smart Lock Technology May Solve Major E-Commerce Problem

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
One of the biggest worries of online buyers is the fate of a delivered product when the buyer isn’t at home. It can be stolen, rained on, or simply returned to the seller if too many delivery notices are ignored. This “cognitive load” dampens online sales – it's the number one problem inhibiting e-commerce – according to the founder of August Smart Lock. His technology automatically unlocks the door when the correct codes are presented, giving delivery companies one-time, specific-time, or anytime access to the house. A camera monitors the whole process. A pilot test showed that lock owners, though nervous at first, were extremely happy with the process. Bottom line: “This is how I want everything delivered to my house.” [ Image credit: © August Smart Lock  ]
Daniel Terdiman, "How In-Home Package Delivery Could Save E-Commerce", Fast Company, April 21, 2017, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Amazon Announces Plan To Hire 5,000 Part-Time Customer Service Agents

April 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said it plans to hire more than 5,000 new part-time employees for is Virtual Customer Service program in 2018. Part of the company’s previously announced plans to hire 30,000 part-time workers in the US, the proposed hiring will strengthen the retailer’s capability to provide customer service. Virtual Customer Service employees are provided with the flexibility to do their job while working from home.
"Amazon to Create 5,000 New, Part-Time, Work-From-Home Jobs over the Next Year", Amazon, April 06, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Will Costco Put More Energy Into Online Bulk Sales?

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Costco has for the most part downplayed the e-commerce side of its business while emphasizing store traffic, impulse buying, and a “treasure hunt” atmosphere of constant churning of new products. It’s a strategy that continues to be profitable. But investors and analysts think it’s time the bulk-selling giant adapts to modern times. The logistical technology is certainly available, even for Costco-size shipments. A Costco spokesman says the company has been slow on the uptake “on purpose,” but acknowledges “there are things we can do or should be doing.” Now it may be getting tougher: carriers like UPS and FedEx Corp. are beginning to charge based on package size as well as weight. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Sarah Nassauer et al., "Why Costco Loves Store Sales: You Try Shipping a Tub of Mayo", The Wall Street Journal, April 05, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Coty, Parfumerie Akzente Present Respective Cases Before Court Of Justice Of European Union

March 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coty Germany and Parfumerie Akzente have made their oral arguments before the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the beauty brand's lawsuit against the distributor for selling Coty products on the internet. Ongoing for several years now, the case highlights the lack of established rules regarding sales of products via third-party online stores in the EU. Previously, a district court in Frankfurt ruled that a ban on third-party online sales is illegal and restricts competition.
Jennifer Weil, "Coty Germany, Parfümerie Akzente Heard in the EU’s Court of Justice", Women’s Wear Daily, March 30, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Unilever And Lazada Strengthen Alliance For Better Ecommerce In South East Asia

March 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An end-to-end alliance between Unilever and Lazada is expected to boost eCommerce in South East Asia and provide consumers with a superior online experience. The agreement is expected to push rapid growth in online retail for the region and address challenges such as high cost of product delivery in certain geographic locations. Category development, supply chain, data and marketing, social commerce and talent development are among the top focus areas for Unilever and Lazada to meet their common goal. The alliance builds on the previously launched partnership between Lazada Singapore and Unilever for an exclusive online store that allows buyers to purchase Unilever products. The companies say this is the first cross-functional collaboration for eCommerce in South East Asia and that it sets new standards in customer experience, supply chain and digital marketing.  
"Unilever and Lazada forge first in e-commerce cross-functional alliance", Unilever, March 30, 2017, © Unilever
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Peapod Customers Shopping More Often, Buying More, CMO Says

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Peapod customers are using the online grocery delivery service more frequently and are increasing their basket size, according to the company's CMO Carrie Bienkowski. She said among the factors driving growth in the online grocery delivery service segment are millennials' preference for home-cooked meals and service providers' personalization strategies. Bienkowski described some of her company's personalization tactics, including customized homepage for existing customers and emails based on “transaction behavior.” Also, the company is focused on identifying customer segments, by evaluating transaction behavior.
Tricia Carr, "Peapod Customers Are Buying More, and More Often—Here's Why", eMarketer, March 28, 2017, © eMarketer Inc.
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Wal-Mart Revamps Technology Group, Promotes Three Executives

March 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reorganized its technology division, following its $3.3 billion acquisition of online retailer Jet.com Inc. in September 2016. According to the company, the steps are aimed at positioning mobile devices as its main platform, with consumers increasingly using their mobile gadgets to shop both online and physical stores. As part of the revamp, Fiona Tan was promoted to senior vice president of U.S. Customer technology, Jaya Kolhatkar was named SVP of global data and analytics platform, and Jae Evans was promoted to VP of global technical engineering and operations.
Kim S. Nash, "Wal-Mart Reorganizes Tech Group to Strengthen Mobile", The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Amazon Working To Iron Out Kinks In Its Cashierless Store Model

March 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Technical glitches are delaying the debut of Amazon.com’s cashierless brick-and-mortar convenience store, Amazon Go,scheduled to open at the end of April in Seattle. The innovative store automatically charges customers when they exit.  No cash registers are used. The delay spotlights the difficulties the online retailer is experiencing as it implements a strategy to broaden its retail influence, especially in food sales. Observers say the cashierless technology works perfectly as long as there are 20 or fewer customers in the store. It also has a problem tracking items once they leave the store shelf. [ Image credit: © Amazon.com  ]
Laura Stevens, "Amazon Delays Opening of Cashierless Store to Work Out Kinks", The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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RB Expects Online Sales To Make Up 10 Percent Of India Sales By 2020

March 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Reckitt Benckiser predicts online sales will account for 10 percent of the company’s total sales in India by 2020. RB India, which has an exclusive business deal with online retailer Amazon, said online sales in the country has been growing 20–25 percent month on month. In 2016, the company saw its online sales grow more than double.
"Reckitt Benckiser Eyes 10% Sales from E-Commerce in India", ETRetail.com, March 25, 2017, © ETRetail.com
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Walmart Buys Small Online Stores Catering To Higher-End Customers

March 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is buying small, niche-focused online retailers that cater to high-end consumers as part of an effort to compete with Amazon.com. Among the hipster websites acquired by the retailer are clothing retailer ModCloth, outdoor specialty retailer Moosejaw, and online shoe store ShoeBuy. These deals give Walmart access to new brands and higher-spending consumers not normally associated with the retailer. The purchase of the websites, however, has alienated some of the stores' customers, especially those who value independence.
Sarah Nassauer, "With Niche Sites, Walmart Tries Selling to Hipsters", The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Amazon Plans To Buy Middle East's Online Retailer Souq.com

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com Inc. plans to acquire Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com, one of the most popular internet retailers in the Middle East. Souq.com describes itself as the largest e-commerce website in the Arab world. Purchasing Souq.com would give Amazon access to the region, which is one of the world's fastest-expanding e-commerce markets.
Hadeel Al Sayegh et al., "Amazon to Buy Middle Eastern Online Retailer Souq.com: Sources", Reuters, March 22, 2017, © Reuters
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China's Online Retail Market To Experience 15 Percent Growth Through

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China's online retail market will expand at a CAGR of 15 percent in 2016 to 2021, reaching RMB 1.3 trillion in total value by the end of the period, according to Mintel. Data  revealed the country's overall e-commerce market grew from RMB 53 billion in 2011 to about RMB 626 billion in 2016, a CAGR of 64 percent. Also, 73 percent of online shoppers shop for imported products from local online stores, while only 27 percent shop from overseas retail websites. Mintel research also showed 31 percent of consumers purchase imported food from Taiwan, 36 percent buy wine from France, and 45 percent buy beauty and personal care products from South Korea.
"China’s online retail market is expected to reach RMB 1.3 trillion in 2021", Mintel, March 22, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Carrefour Launches Online Banking Service

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
France-based retailer Carrefour launched its C-zam online banking service. Part of company CEO Georges Plassat's plan to expand Carrefour's online business, the move sees the retailer moving into an already crowded market. Telecoms company Orange and partner Groupama also plan to launch Orange online banking in May 2017. C-zam lets anyone older than 18 years old and who can present two identification cards to open and activate a current account online in 10 minutes.
Dominique Vidalon, "French Retailer Carrefour Launches New Online Banking Service", Reuters, March 21, 2017, © Reuters
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Amazon To Hire 10,000 Full-Time Workers In Europe

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon plans to create 10,000 full-time jobs across Europe in 2017, including 5,000 in the U.K.  Also, Amazon's plan to open fulfillment centers in Daventry, Doncaster, and Tilbury confirms the company's growing commitment to the British market despite the Brexit decision to leave the European Union. Amazon is also increasing the number of employees at its development centers in London, Cambridge, and Edinburgh.
Holly Browne, "Amazon Plans To Create 5,000 U.K.Jobs", Retail Analysis, March 21, 2017, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Brand Consultant Says Walmart Can’t Match Amazon’s “Value Proposition”

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Brand building consultant Denise Lee Yohn says Walmart’s current plan to “out-Amazon Amazon” is improving its e-commerce capabilities, which is a good thing, but in the long run it’s not a winning strategy. Offering free shipping on orders over $35, for example, makes the customer think about money with every online transaction. Amazon’s Prime members pay an annual fee and forget about it. Moreover, Prime gives members access to movie streaming, photo storage, music streaming, and early access to time-sensitive “Lightning Deals.” Walmart can’t compete with this “value proposition.” What it should do, Yohn says, is leverage its excellent physical distribution and retail network, improve the in-store experience, promote omnichannel shopping and fulfillment options, and develop in-person service innovations. [ Image credit: © MikeMozartJeepersMedia ]
Denise Lee Yohn, "Walmart Won’t Stay on Top If Its Strategy Is “Copy Amazon”", Harvard Business Review, March 21, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Amazon Ramps Up Efforts To Expand Internationally

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon is boosting its efforts to expand overseas. In Mexico, the company launched its Prime shipping service for a first-year subscription fee of $23, offering free same-day and one-day shipping. For China-based sellers, Amazon offers the option of using its air cargo service to send products to external markets. With data from L2 showing only 14 percent of e-commerce-friendly brands offering international shipping, Amazon is expected to have a significant advantage in competing in overseas markets.
Evan Bakker, "Amazon is Globalizing its Retail Empire", L2 Daily, March 21, 2017, © L2 Inc.
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Retail Responds To Lower Profits By Dumping Some Stores, Revamping The Rest

March 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail chain CEOs are wondering what to do over the long term about declining store traffic and slipping profit margins. At the core of the problem, some analysts say, is the overheated expansion of brick-and-mortar outlets in the 1980s and 1990s. So far, the options seem to be: filing for bankruptcy (Gander Mountain) or closing stores (Macy’s, Sears). Money saved using these tactics can be applied toward reworking e-commerce operations. Other options include: online buying/store pickup, launching exclusive brands, keeping prices competitive, and installing gadgets and software to make better use of stores. The goal of today’s retail stores, one consultant says, is transformation by “leveraging existing resources.” [ Image credit: © Gander Mountain  ]
Khadeeja Safdar, "Retail Store ‘Bubble’ Has Burst and CEOs Search for Answers", The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Walmart Will Sell Newly Acquired Women’s Fashion Company’s Products On Jet.com

March 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart’s pursuit of a strategy to expand its e-commerce presence has led to the acquisition of the assets and operations of an online women’s fashion retailer. The company said that Modcloth, “one of the top online specialty retailers of unique women’s fashion and accessories," has 300 employees in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. Walmart will sell Modcloth’s product line on its e-commerce site Jet.com. [ Image credit: © Modcloth ]
Alana Abramson, "Walmart Acquires Online Women’s Clothing Retailer ModCloth", Fortune, March 18, 2017, © Time Inc.
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Meijer Expands Home Delivery Service Across Midwestern Market

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Meijer is expanding its home delivery service across the Midwestern market. Meijer's move follows the success of a test of the service in the Detroit area where more than 65,000 orders for home delivery were received by the company. Mejier, in partnership with Shipt, offers the membership-based service with $99 annual subscription fee and offers unlimited free grocery deliveries on orders worth more than $35. Meijer president Rick Keyes said the company learned many lessons from the Detroit test, including the demographic groups that used the service.
Dale Buss, "Groceries on Demand: 5 Questions With Meijer President Rick Keyes", Brandchannel, March 16, 2017, © Interbrand
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Ferrero Acquires Fanny May Confectionery Assets From 1-800-Flowers

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Italian confectioner Ferrero International is acquiring the Fannie May confection brands of 1-800-FLOWERS.com, including Fannie May and Harry London chocolate brands, in an all-cash $115 million transaction. Ferrero will acquire all related assets and liabilities including Fannie May’s e-commerce business,79 retail stores located mostly in the Chicago area, as well as a factory, warehouse and distribution facility. As part of the deal, 1-800-FLOWERS will continue to sell Fannie May and Harry London chocolates through its e-commerce and wholesale channels, and will add some of Ferrero’s chocolate brands, including Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Raffaello, to its offerings. [ Image credit: © Fannie May ]
"1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. Announces the Signing of a Definitive Agreement to Sell Its Fannie May Confections Brands, Inc. Business to Ferrero International S.A. for $115.0 Million", News release, 1-800-FLOWERS, March 15, 2017, © 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
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McDonald’s Enters The World Of Smartphone Food Ordering

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Hoping to win back the drive-in customers it lost over the past four years, McDonald’s is at last testing a mobile ordering app it is satisfied with. The company is showing off the technology in Chicago where a new high tech demo restaurant was built with a redesigned kitchen that speeds order flow. McDonald’s hopes to avoid the disasters Starbucks encountered when its app generated a flood of orders that overwhelmed stores and drove away impatient walk-in customers. The company says order automation will cut transaction times, reduce errors, and free up workers to deliver food to tables or to cars parked in mobile order spots.[ Image credit: © McDonald's Corp. ]
"McDonald’s Finally Has Mobile Ordering", Fortune, March 15, 2017, © Time Inc.
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Birchbox Tries Offering Customers Personalized Subscription Boxes

March 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Birchbox is testing a beauty-subscription service called Birchbox Select Beta. Priced at $15 a month, the program offers customers the option to subscribe to boxes customized based on their beauty needs. Birchbox's launch of the service follows the company's announcement of its plan to open a retail store in Paris.
Allison Collins, "Birchbox Beta Tests More Customized Boxes", Women’s Wear Daily, March 07, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Aldi To Use Alibaba Online Platform To Market German Brands In China

March 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Germany’s fast-growing discount grocery chain Aldi hopes to interest Chinese consumers in German food and beverage brands, especially wine, snacks and breakfast foods. With that goal in mind, the company will "soft launch" an online presence on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform, followed by a full launch event in Shanghai on April 25. The Chinese venture is being managed by Aldi South, owner of Aldi U.S. and manager of the British chain. An Alibaba manager said the Chinese middle-class is increasingly interested in German products. [ Image credit: © Aldi ]
Victoria Bryan, "German discounter Aldi to start online sales in China", Reuters, March 03, 2017, © Thomson Reuters
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Amazon Anticipates Permission From India To Launch Produce Delivery Venture

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon Fresh, a growing competitor of supermarkets in the U.S., U.K., and Europe, is waiting for foreign direct investment approval from the Indian government before launching a grocery delivery operation there. The company expects to be delivering produce, lentils, milk, and other staples sourced from local farmers. Amazon already sells fresh produce and dairy products through its Amazon Now venture in four Indian cities, though the food is sourced from local supermarkets.[ Image credit: © SounderBruce ]
Writankar Mukherjee, "Amazon Awaits FDI Approval to Deliver Groceries at Doorstep ", Economic Times, March 01, 2017, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Campbell Soup Says Its Four Platforms Will Ensure Future Growth

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison told consumer industry analysts recently that she and her company understand that the “future food world” will be complex and challenging, with unpredictable and unrelenting change. There will be both “opportunities and disruptions” caused by advancements in food, health and wellness, and technology. With that in mind, the company has established four platforms for growth: further developing its omnichannel strategy, especially e-commerce; focusing on affordable, high-quality, and even functional snacks; taking advantage of the future biometrics-based personalization of foods; and applying the concept of “limitless local” that embraces smaller and more regional farming and food production models. [ Denise Morrison, iImage credit: © Campbell Soup Company ]
Lynne Cooke, "Campbell Soup Outlines Four Platforms to Drive Growth", CPG Matters, March 01, 2017, © CPG Matters
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Olay Releases New Version Of Skincare App To Help Consumers Navigate Options

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble’s Olay is rolling out a new version of its mobile app that features expanded artificial intelligence capability. The previous Olay Skin Advisor app relied on a selfie, “smart skin analysis” and personalized product recommendations. The latest release uses “pixel-tagging capabilities” that compares the selfie with a databank of hundreds of thousands of photographs of women to help women diagnose their “most troublesome skin problems.” Olay were motivated by research that showed up to 33 percent of women are “overwhelmed” by the choice of available products. Since the app was launched last year it has had 1 million “visits.” Other brands, such as Benefit, with its Brow Genie, and Cover Girl, are using AI in their apps to engage consumers digitally, while others push into physical stores – Make Up For Ever, for example, opened in February a global flagship store in New York that offers Go Pro Makeup small tutorials led by professionals, covering makeup application techniques.  [Image credit © P&G]
Sarah Mahoney, "As Beauty Gets More Digital, Olay Expands AI", MediaPost, February 28, 2017, © MediaPost
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Watsons Kiosk In Shanghai Features YouCam Makeup App, Allows Customers To Virtually Try On Cosmetics

February 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Watsons' flagship store in Shanghai features a kiosk that comes with augmented-reality-powered facial detection technology. Developed by Perfect Corporation, the YouCam makeup app allows customers to try on more than 30 products from leading makeup brands, such as MaxFactor, Maybelline, and Kate Cosmetics.
"YouCam Makeup App Becomes an Interactive Makeup Consultant in Watsons Shanghai", Business Wire, February 24, 2017, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Vitamin Start-Ups Pull Industry Into The 21st Century

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Half of all Americans take a daily vitamin or supplement. But, despite that, the vitamin industry has been slow to adapt to evolving consumer trends. Now, thanks to a blend of lifestyle branding, wellness influence, and retail convenience, the vitamin industry is advancing into the 21st century with numerous changes. Start-up Care/of, for example, last year launched customizable vitamin packs that offer "honest guidance and better ingredients." Users are quizzed about their age and lifestyle, then sign up for a $30/month subscription to a custom vitamin blend. The Ritual brand also offers vitamin blends by subscription, targeting Millennial women. The bright branding is vastly different from traditional supplements. Ritual's products contain few ingredients, and their sources are well-documented.  [ Image credit: © Ritual ]
"Vitamins Get a Makeover", Report, J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, February 23, 2017, © J. Walter Thompson Intelligence
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Amazon Is Top Online Beauty Seller In 2016, Report Says

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com Inc. accounted for 21.1 percent of online beauty sales in 2016, according to 1010data. Online sales excluding those sold by its marketplace sellers reached 14.4 percent of total online beauty sales. Macy's Inc. and Sephora USA Inc. grabbed 17.4 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively. Data from the market research firm showed the online beauty segment expanded 14 percent in 2016, compared with 2015.
April Berthene , "Amazon nabs the top spot for online cosmetics sales", Internet Retailer, February 23, 2017, © Vertical Web Media
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Doughnut Fries Catch On Big In Australia

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Yet another in the seemingly endless stream of doughnut hybrids – this time the “doughnut fry” – has become a major hit in Australia and on social media. The dessert (or snack or pastry) combines the sweetness of a doughnut with the shape of a French fry, according to an Australian food writer, who adds that it is “sending Australians wild.” The owners of The Doughnut Bar in Brisbane say they came up with the idea independently – similar treats are available in Europe and the U.S. – when they were looking for a bite-size snack that would be more appropriate than doughnuts for summertime munching. Doughnut fries are served with chocolate, caramel or raspberry dipping sauces. [ Image credit: © The Doughnut Bar  ]
Sinead MacLaughlin, "Do You Want Doughnut Fries with That? Mouthwatering Fast Food Hybrid is Now Available in Australia", Daily Mail, February 23, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Digital Consumerism Is Already Changing The Health Industry, And Healthcare

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Smartphones are fast becoming important medical devices as digital consumerism takes hold, challenging the consumer health industry and healthcare generally. Thanks to digital consumerism, healthcare providers will have to handle huge amounts of new customized data. It’s happening already: mConsumers – i.e., mobile consumers – are using physical fitness apps to set and pursue fitness goals; paying monthly subscription fees to have round-the-clock access to their physicians; and are using mHealth apps that detect different physical conditions during emergencies, including heart attacks. Start-up companies are moving quickly to take advantage of the changing technological landscape. One such company is applying a fast-emerging advanced technology known as 3-D printing to make drugs and vitamins. Euromonitor envisions mConsumers will someday be able to customize 3-D printed drugs and vitamin supplements from their mobile devices. [ Image credit: © Juhan Sonin ]
Carolina Ordonez, "Consumer Health in the Age of Connectivity", Nutraceuticals World, February 23, 2017, © Rodman Media
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Food Deliverer Thistle Launches Frozen Meal Kits For Infants, Toddlers

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food delivery startup Thistle is launching meal kits for busy parents who want to make nutritious baby foods at home. The founders say available baby and toddler foods are not particularly nutritious, and even the healthier options are over-processed, pureed, watery, and don’t taste like real fruits or veggies. The vacuum-sealed, flash-frozen Thistle meal kits are steamed, pureed and spiced at home. The company specializes in organic, gluten-free plant-based ingredients, but also offers omnivore meals. The main competition is baby foods sold in boxes, pouches, and jars by grocery stores. But a few e-commerce companies deliver kid-friendly meals or meal kits to the home. Though 14 percent of consumers are buying food online (Nielsen), it remains to be seen what portion of the $30 billion baby foods and formula market will shift to e-commerce models. [ Image credit: © Matt Preston ]
Lora Kolodny, "Thistle Launches Meal Kits to Make Nutritious Baby Food at Home", Tech Crunch, February 23, 2017, © AOL Inc.
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Canadian Grocery Delivery Service Offers New Ben & Jerry’s Treats Daily

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is using a Canadian grocery delivery service to introduce two dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s frozen dessert flavors: P.B. & Cookies and Coffee Caramel Fudge. Toronto-based Urbery began offering the new flavors before their official store release late last month. A pint of the non-dairy dessert sells for $9.99, and regular flavors sell for $8.99. Urbery’s $4.99 delivery fee is waived if customers order three or more pints. The desserts are purchased on a dedicated website that offers daily delivery between 5 and 10 p.m. in downtown Toronto within 30-45 minutes. [ Image credit: © Ben & Jerry's ]
Chris Powell, "Ice Cream, On-Demand", Canadian Grocer, February 21, 2017, © EnsembleIQ
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Mondelez Invests In High-Growth Channels And Products

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
N.J.-based snack maker Mondelez International's strategy is to boost its presence in high-growth channels like e-commerce, discounters, convenience stores and traditional trade. To build its e-commerce snacks business, it is spending heavily on capabilities, infrastructure and broadening the online product portfolio. The effort is working: net revenues in e-commerce grew more than 35 percent last year. More specifically, the company is investing in what it calls its “power brands” – namely, Oreo, Milka and belVita – which account for 70 percent of global revenues. The effort is paying off: last year those brands grew organic net revenue at twice the rate of the company overall and continue to outpace category growth, according to Chief Growth Officer Tim Cofer. [ Image credit:© theimpulsivebuy ]
Jeff Gelski, "Mondelez Sees Opportunity in 'power Brands,' E-Commerce", Food Business News, February 21, 2017, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING CO.
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Walmart Posts Robust Quarterly Sales, But Big Drop In Profit

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart’s same-store sales were impressive during the winter holidays, but the company’s e-commerce battle with Amazon is hurting profit. Same-store sales rose 1.8 percent in the quarter that ended January 31, 2017, the tenth consecutive quarterly rise. But profit fell 18 percent as the company pursues its strategic goal of becoming “more of a digital enterprise,” as CEO Doug McMillion put it. Online sales, which included full quarter sales performance from Jet.com, acquired last September, rose 16 percent. E-commerce sales rose 21 percent in the previous quarter. Other downward pressures on profit include plans to raise store workers’ wages and lower prices. [ Image credit: © Walmart ]
Sarah Nassauer, "Walmart Posts Strong Holiday Sales, But E-Commerce Battle With Amazon Pinches Profit", The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Tough Times Ahead For America’s Agricultural Suppliers?

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Small-town stores and co-ops that for decades have supplied seed, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides to farmers, may be in for a rough patch. Farmers are beginning to catch on to the financial benefits of shopping online, even if they have to forego the expert advice of local suppliers. Several trends have contributed to this phenomenon, not the least of which is that broadband is now available to 63 percent of rural residents. Online ag-suppliers like Farmers Business Network have much lower overhead expenses than brick-and-mortar suppliers, so prices are lower. Delivery of supplies, even in huge amounts, is now economically and technically feasible. A surplus of commodities has driven down crop prices and farm incomes, forcing farmers to shop for better deals. And they are finding them online. One Illinois farmer last year spent $26,000 on the Internet on herbicides for his corn and soybean fields, about half of what he usually spends at a local farmers’ co-op. [ Image credit: © Farmers Business Network ]
Jesse Newman et al., "E-Commerce for Farmers: Shopping Online for $26,000 of Herbicides", The Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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More China Consumers Expected To Buy Foreign Goods By 2020, Study Reveals

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
By 2020, 25 percent of China’s population, or 325 million people, are expected to purchase products from abroad via online retailers, according to eMarketer. Data from the market research firm revealed more than 15 percent of the Chinese population bought $85.8 billion of foreign goods in 2016. With local consumers spending about $473 each on cross-border purchases in 2016, foreign products accounted for 4.2 percent of the total online retail market in the country.
He Wei, "Survey says more e-shoppers to buy foreign stuff by 2020", China Daily, February 16, 2017, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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Smartphones Will Be The Pillar Of U.K. E-Commerce By 2020

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Smartphones are rapidly becoming the technological engine powering e-commerce in the U.K., according to a report from OC&C Strategy Consultants, Google and PayPal. Within three years, mobile purchases will account for two-thirds of e-commerce sales – £43 billion – up from £13.5 billion in 2016. Another £14 billion of online retail will involve a smartphone in product research and price comparison, meaning that 80 percent of all U.K. e-commerce by 2020 will be handled over a smartphone. But despite these forecasts, U.K. retailers lag behind U.S. and Asian competitors in terms of mobile readiness, the report notes.  [ Image credit: © Jason Howie  ]
Paul Skeldon, "Smartphone Shopping to Account for Two Thirds of UK E-Commerce by 2020, says Google, PayPal Study", Internet Retailing, February 10, 2017, © SJP Business Media
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Candy Companies Should Get The E-Commerce Ball Rolling Now

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Candy makers need to develop an e-commerce strategy now to get a head start on developing relationships with online retailers that stock their product lines. A good example of how an early start reaps rewards is the German unit of Mars Chocolate, which has gained a lot of experience and insight since it launched a B2C website selling personalized M&M’s (MyMM.com) ten years ago. Confectioners should not be dissuaded by the fact that e-commerce accounted for only 4.4 percent of global FMCG sales last year. E-commerce is expected to account for nine percent of the market by 2025 ($150 billion). A Mars Germany exec says it’s a small share now but is “gathering speed so you need to act quite quickly in this area.”  [ Image credit: © Mars MyMMs.com ]
Oliver Nieburg, "E-Tail-Volution: Why Confectionery E-Commerce Strategies Shouldn’t Be Put on Hold", FOODnavigator.com, February 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Amazon Expands Its Order Fulfillment Capacity With Two New Centers in California

February 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com said it will build two new fulfillment centers in California, adding 2,000 jobs for associates who will pick, pack, and ship customer orders. The company did not say when the new centers in Eastvale and Redlands will open, but together they will have nearly two million square feet of storage space. A center being built in Sacramento is expected to open this year. Amazon employs 15,000 associates in California. [ Image credit: © Álvaro Ibáñez Wikimedia ]
"Amazon to Create 2,000 New Full-Time Jobs at Two New California Fulfillment Centers", News release, Amazon.com, February 09, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Effective Social Media Involvement Of Super Bowl 51 Fans Stretched Ad Dollars

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Interactive ad strategy – use of live-streams, paid social advertising, and giveaways – were the hallmarks of successful social media and mobile campaigns for several Super Bowl 51 advertisers. Especially effective was PepsiCo’s Lady Gaga halftime show strategy for its Pepsi Zero soft drink, but Budweiser, casual dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings, and Snickers were also able to stretch their airtime ad dollars using social media. Pepsi sponsored a number of giveaways during the game in which football fans who were social media users could interact with Pepsi sites up to halftime. They were then given a chance to win merchandise by re-posting Pepsi’s tweets.   [ Image credit: © PepsiCo ]
Brielle Jaekel, "How Pepsi was One of Few to Leverage Mobile for Super Bowl LI", Mobile Marketer, February 07, 2017, © Napean LLC
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