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Amazon Says List Of Users Of Payments Service Grew By 10 Million

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said more than 33 million customers have used its Amazon Payments electronic payment platform as of February 2017. Launched in 2013, the service had a cumulative total of 23 million customers in 2016. Known as Pay with Amazon, the service lets customers use their Amazon accounts to pay for purchases made on other online stores.
Jillian Stampher, "Amazon Adds 10M Users to its Payments Service, Escalating PayPal Rivalry", GeekWire, February 07, 2017, © GeekWire, LLC
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Amazon's Fourth Quarter Profit Up, But Sales Disappoint

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon's decision to focus on revenue growth and investments rather than on heavy promotions led to a 55% jump in profits for the fourth quarter. But sales hit only the midpoint of the company target, with revenue up by $43.7 billion, a less-than-expected 22% increase from the previous quarter. CFO Brian Olsavsky says the company continues to focus and made great progress on "things we can directly control", referring to price, selection and customer experience. While many retailers turned to heavy promotions during the holidays, Olsavsky said promotions weren't a major factor in fourth-quarter revenue. Amazon continue to dominate online sales, commanding an estimated 42% of total holiday online spending growth in 2016, with Apple Inc. in poor second at 5%. [Image credit © Amazon Inc.]
Laura Stevens, "Amazon’s Profit Jumps, but Sales Growth Disappoints", The Wall Street Journal, February 02, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Walmart Ups Ante In Fight With Amazon By Abandoning ShippingPass

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To stay competitive with Amazon, Walmart is ditching its $49-a-year two-day shipping subscription, dubbed ShippingPass, and replacing it with free shipping for purchases over $35. In doing so, the retailer is acknowledging that free two-day shipping is now the standard in online shopping. The new strategy takes aim at Amazon’s highly successful Prime offer, which offers free two-day shipping for an annual $99 subscription fee. Data from Cowen and Company show that by November 2016, almost half of U.S. Internet users were living in a household with a Prime subscription. Some observers speculate that Walmart’s battle with Amazon will lead to even more tactical moves, such as deep discounting. [ Image credit: © Walmart ]
Yory Wurmser, "Walmart Challenges Amazon with New Shipping Plan", eMarketer, February 01, 2017, © eMarketer Inc.
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Walmart Launches Free Two-Day Shipping For US Customers

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart launched a two-day shipping service across the US. Aimed at improving customer experience online, the service is available with a minimum purchase of $35, compared with the $50 threshold for Shipping Pass, the retailer’s previous home delivery service. Unlike Amazon’s Prime program, which costs $99 in annual fee, Walmart’s two-day shipping comes with no membership fee.
Stewart Samuel, "How Walmart is Aiming to Build Ecommerce Loyalty", Retail Analysis, February 01, 2017, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Wal-Mart Replaces ShippingPass Delivery Service With Free Shipping

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart is replacing its ShippingPass two-day shipping service with free two-day shipping for purchases worth at least $35. One of the significant online-retail-related changes made by Marc Lore since Wal-Mart bought Jet.com in 2016, the new shipping service will cover more than 2 million products. Wal-Mart designed ShippingPass to compete with Amazon's Prime shipping service.
Krystina Gustafson, "Wal-Mart scraps Amazon Prime competitor in favor of new free shipping tactic", CNBC.com, January 31, 2017, © CNBC LLC
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A Better Customer Experience Is A Major Marketing Priority These Days

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Improving the customer experience in all marketing channels – making it seamless and connected – is a top priority among retailers and manufacturers because it leads to higher sales. Seventy-one percent of business execs ranked improving customer experience higher than increasing revenue, reducing costs, or other traditional goals, a Forrester survey found. Consumer behaviors, expectations, and demands continue to rise, and they are especially influenced by personalization, good prices, and efficient fulfillment. Improving customer experience is important in all channeles because: 94 percent do research online before visiting a store; 81 percent have looked up inventory on a retailer’s website, 80 percent won’t visit a store if product availability isn’t shown; 93 percent have reviewed product ratings before purchasing; and 57 percent said loyalty often drives a purchase.  [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
"Consumer Trends Report - 2017 Edition ", Report, Kibo, January 31, 2017, © Kibo Software, Inc
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Consumer FMCG Spending Growth Continues In China, Report Says

January 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers in China bought 2.2 percent more FMCG products during the 12-week period ending December 2, 2016, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel China. Data from the market research firm showed online spending grew 50 percent during the period, which includes the Double 11 festival. For the four-week period ending December 2, 2016, ecommerce penetration grew to a record 20.5 percent, driven by Double 11 festival spending.
"China’s ecommerce grows by 50%", Kantar Worldpanel, January 27, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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App Helps Volunteers Find, Deliver Salvageable Food Donations

January 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Add to the list of technologies created to help reduce food waste an Uber-like app from a Pittsburgh, Pa.- based nonprofit known as 412 Food Rescue. Food Rescue Hero, available free on iTunes and Google Play, helps its 1,000 volunteer drivers (or walkers or cyclists) find salvage food considered unmarketable and deliver it to shelters and charities. Hero lists salvage opportunities at grocery stores and restaurants and the target charities who distribute the food, provides details on the donations, and lets volunteers pick the donation that works best for them. There is even a navigation system that guides volunteers to the pick-up locations and destinations.  [ Image credit: © 412foodrescue.org  ]
Dana Cizmas, "412 Food Rescue Mobilizes Volunteers with Uber-Like App", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 25, 2017, © PG Publishing Co., Inc.
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E-Retailers And CPG Manufacturers Need To Prepare For Strong Growth Now

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
E-commerce today accounts for only a small portion of consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales, with the food and beverage sector lagging somewhat behind non-food. But both sectors are set for strong growth, according to IRI. Over the next five years, CPG e-commerce will average 10 percent of industrywide sales. Digital is expected to play a major role in influencing that sales growth, and will drive as much as 77 percent of all retail sales generally, representing about $2 trillion. E-retailers are rapidly laying the groundwork for growth, with Amazon leading the way. Meanwhile, CPG manufacturers could grow online sales by up to 150 percent by building a strong online presence and earning shopper awareness. [ Image credit: © Jason Howie  ]
"Build, Drive and Earn E-commerce Growth for Retail Success", Report, IRI Worldwide, January 24, 2017, © IRI Worldwide
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UK Fashion Retailers Shift Spending From High End To Online

January 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK's leading fashion retailers are shifting their capital spending from the high street to online shopping. During the holiday season, online shopping was the leading sales growth driver for the sector. Marks & Spencer is spending money on apps, its online store, and logistics. Department store operator John Lewis said it was reducing staff bonuses in order to invest in its online operations.
Kate Holton, "UK High Street Retailers Race to Keep Up with Online Demand", Reuters, January 22, 2017, © Reuters
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Advanced Store Shelf Technology Seeks To Personalize Shopping At Kroger Stores

January 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket chain Kroger has begun experimenting with in-store shelf-based sensor systems that detect shoppers via their smartphones and apply analytics technology to customize product offers. Dubbed the “digital shelf edge” project, the initiative is a facet of the company’s plan to automate and personalize shopping to battle online competition from Amazon.com Inc., Walmart’s Jet.com unit and others. E-commerce in traditional food and beverage stores accounted for $1 billion in sales in 2014, less than 0.2 percent of the $670 billion market. Sensors have been installed in 14 stores near the company’s Cincinnati headquarters.  [ Image credit: © ParentingPatch  ]
Kim S. Nash, "Kroger Tests Sensors, Analytics In Interactive Grocery Shelves", The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Carrefour Announces Plans To Expand E-Commerce And Acquire Tecno Stores

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As part of its expansion moves in markets across Europe, Carrefour announced plans to expand its e-commerce operations in Belgium. Steps the company plans to take include increasing the number of pickup points from the present 84 to 184 by the end of 2017. Also, the retailer plans to extend its collaboration with bpost to expand coverage of its home delivery service in the country. Carrefour said it also will do a test run of the bringr-enabled home delivery service launched by bpost. In addition to e-commerce expansion, the company also plans to acquire nine Tecno stores from Tecno Kempen.
"Carrefour Belgium growing store base and online", Retail Analysis, January 13, 2017, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Amazon Announces Plan To Create 100,000 New Jobs In US

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said it plans to create 100,000 new full-time, full-benefit jobs in the US by middle of 2018. According to the company, these jobs are for people with “all types of experience, education, and skill levels.” As of 2016, the company employs 180,000 workers, making the online retailer one of the largest employers in the country. More than 10,000 military veterans are part of the company's workforce, while 9,000 employees have taken part in Amazon's Career Choice program, which pays 95 percent of tuition for degrees in high-demand professions, such as aircraft mechanics and computer-aided design.
"Amazon to Create More Than 100,000 New, Full-Time, Full-Benefit Jobs across the U.S. over the Next 18 Months", Amazon, January 12, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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L’Oreal’s Smart Brush Demonstrates Internet Of Things Application For The Beauty Industry

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal’s smart brush, unveiled at CES 2017, is just one of a number of products responding to opportunities provided by the Internet of Things within the consumer products industry, including Beauty. Smart devices are allowing brands to brands to become more involved in consumers’ daily routines. The smart brush is being sold at around $200, and only time will tell if consumers regard that as a price worth paying for the benefits it provides – better and more personalized information, performance monitoring and suggestions for improvements, as well as tips and recommendations. These aren’t necessary attributes for a hairbrush or toothbrush, but they will make life a bit easier for consumers, and brands can become better connected to consumers’ lifestyles and preferences, allowing valuable insights for future innovation and marketing efforts. [ Image credit: © Daniel Allan
Nikki Gilliland, "How the beauty industry is embracing the Internet of Things", Econsultancy, January 11, 2017, © Econsultancy.com Limited
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Coty Partners With Online Social Selling Platform Younique

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coty Inc. said it has partnered with Younique, an online peer-to-peer social selling platform focused on the beauty market. As part of the agreement between the companies, Coty plans to purchase a 60-percent stake in Younique, with the online company's founders holding on to the remaining 40 percent. Also, Younique founder and CEO Derek Maxfield and chief visionary officer Melanie Huscroft will stay on in their leadership roles.
"Coty to Enter Into Partnership With Younique, a Leading Online Peer-to-Peer Social Selling Platform in Beauty", Coty, January 10, 2017, © Coty Inc.
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Walmart CEO Sees Big Challenges Ahead For Retailers, And Big Opportunities

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon believes strongly that retailers need to adapt quickly to rapidly advancing technologies that have accelerated the pace of modern living, particularly when it comes to shopping, purchasing, and taking delivery of products. These technologies will create unprecedented opportunities for retailers. Looking ahead 10 years, he says customers will be able to fulfill everyday needs easily through stores, e-commerce, pick-up, delivery, thanks to sophisticated technologies. Retailers will need to adjust to the fact that customers globally will see what people in other countries have, and will want it too. Lastly, embedded social and environmental sustainability will require tighter collaboration among retailers, NGOs, governments and educational institutions so that customers, associates/employees, shareholders, communities, and suppliers will all benefit. “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in retail,” McMillon concluded.[Doug McMillon, Image credit: © Shane Bevel (Walmart corporate), Wikimedia  ]
Doug McMillon, "3 Predictions for the Future of Retail – from the CEO of Walmart", Blog entry, Walmart CEO, January 09, 2017, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Amazon Making Progress With Prestige Skin Care, Provides Rich Content To Engage Consumers

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon continues to build out its offering across new categories and its Amazon Luxury Beauty store shows it will be a contender in premium segments. The company recently added a page targeted at prestige shoppers - Amazon Professional Skin Care -that provides a range of ‘tools and kits to help you develop a complete daily care regimen.’ Amazon offers simple to use filters (shop by concern, expert advice…) along with videos and educational features that engage consumers. Color cosmetic players have for a while offered rich and engaging content but skin care brands have lagged and Amazon is moving to plug the gap - content on the Amazon page exceeds what is available at retailer websites and many beauty blogs.  It also looks to be winning over large brands that were previously dismissive. Elizabeth Arden recently became an official distributor on Amazon’s Luxury Beauty store, a move that will give the online retailer credibility. [Image credit © Innocentj]
Homa Zaryouni, "Amazon Makes Strides in Skin Care", L2 Daily, January 09, 2017, © L2 Inc.
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2017: The Year Of The Brand Chatbot?

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
2017 could the year of the chatbots for brands looking to automate consumer engagement. They reside within Messenger Services, like Skype and Facebook Messenger, as well as internal messenger services, like HipChat. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated with more user functionality, and as artificial intelligence becomes better understood, chatbots will be able to do even more, with development moving from what the bot builders believe consumers want to a machine-learned reflection of what they really want. Chatbots will proliferate and become an essential element of any integrated marketing campaign, supporting highly targeted campaigns delivered in the environment in which the consumer spends the majority of their online time. [ Image credit: © Seb Oliver
John Mccarthy, "What, Why and How: Chatbots for Brands", The Drum, January 06, 2017, © Carnyx Group Ltd.
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Shifting Power Balance Between Brands And Retailers As Brands Diversity Channels

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
For decades, brands and traditional retailers have been joined at the hip, but that mutual dependency is starting to change. Consumers are purchasing ever more online: in 2016 and for the first time more shoppers (51 percent) made purchases online, up from 48 percent a year earlier (ComScore). And the range is extending, with e-commerce pushing into previously largely untouched categories, such as groceries and prestige. Some retail stores are having to scale back – this week Sears Holdings announced it would close nearly 150 Kmart and Sears outlets, while Macy’s plans to shut 68 stores by the middle of 2017, but for the most part, brands seem indifferent. Brands are increasingly investing to reach consumers wherever they can find them. "Ultimately, we don’t care how or where consumers get our products," said Sarah Ortman, National Associate Director at Clorox. "We just want to be where they are." As brands diversity their consumer contact points and make ever more sales in non-conventional channels, prospects for traditional stores continue to decline. [Image credit © Hybrid Images]
Ilyse Liffreing, "Do brands care if bricks-and-mortars survive the Amazon era?", Campaign Live, January 06, 2017, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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Revlon Names Gwen Stefani As Brand Ambassador

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Revlon announced the appointment of celebrity Gwen Stefani as its latest brand ambassador. With the brand planning to feature Stefani in various digital-first campaigns, the pop singer will appear in Revlon’s Choose Love campaign, which will run on broadcast, digital, and social media. Also, the brand’s designed-for-mobile website offers behind-the-scenes looks and content from the celebrity’s campaigns. Content will also be available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
Rakin Azfar, "Revlon will Feature New Brand Ambassador Gwen Stefani in Digital Content", Mobile Marketer, January 04, 2017, © Napean LLC
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Amazon Fulfillment Services Reports Significant Growth In 2016

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said it delivered more than two billion packages to 185 countries for sellers, brand owners and entrepreneurs in 2016 under its Fulfillment by Amazon program. The company said worldwide FBA shipments grew 50 percent during the holiday season. Amazon Prime members contributed significantly to the success of the program, ordering millions of items from sellers in the Seller Fulfilled Prime program that offers free two- or next-day shipping. Sellers worldwide using the FBA service grew more than 70 percent, while shipments grew 80 percent. [ Image credit: © Amazon  ]
"Sellers on Amazon are Thriving: Fulfillment by Amazon Delivered More than 2 Billion Items for Sellers Worldwide in 2016", News release, Amazon, January 04, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Gen Z Is Techno-Savvy, But More Cautious, Conservative, Industrious

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A college marketing agency survey has determined that Generation Z, known as the first “digital natives,” easily adapts to new technologies, expects instant gratification of needs and desires, and yet is more cautious and disciplined in the face of economic uncertainty than one might expect. The Fluent survey of 501 college students found that Gen Z-ers: have jobs (75 percent), spend less time gaming, use cash less often, prefer in-store shopping (54 percent), tend to avoid cable TV and radio, increasingly cook for themselves, are hooked on social media to connect with friends or get news updates, and want to work for midsize companies when they graduate. [ Image credit: ©  Ron Mader ]
"Fluent College Student Survey Reveals Rising, Falling Trends among Gen Z; New Behaviors Reflect Social and Economic Realities", Marketwired, January 04, 2017, © Nasdaq, Inc.
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Research Suggests An Omnichannel Strategy Can Boost Traditional Retailer Sales

January 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In a rare piece of good news for traditional retailers that have for years seen slow growth and share declines – digital channel sales rose 23% in 2015 and 26% of all online retail sales now go to Amazon – research published in Harvard Business Review suggests that an omnichannel approach can give them an advantage. Omnichannel strategies aim to engage shoppers through multiple touchpoints and provide a seamless shopping experience across digital and brick-and-mortar platforms. Retailers that do this well can differentiate themselves through providing a multi-channel experience pure-plays simply can’t.  Researchers found that omnichannel consumers, which are by far the majority (73% in this study), commonly interact with retailers in many different ways – in-store, online, on mobile. Importantly, these consumer spend some 4% more per shopping occasion than single-channel shoppers, while customers who used 4+ channels spent 9% more in the store, on average, when compared to those who used just one channel. They are also more loyal, as measured by repeat shopping trips and likelihood they’ll recommend a brand to family and friends. [Image credit © Zero Creatives]
Emma Sopadjieva et al., "A Study of 46,000 Shoppers Shows That Omnichannel Retailing Works", Harvard Business Review, January 03, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Amazon, Target Were Only Retailers To Boost TV And Digital Holiday Advertising

December 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
It almost seems as if the big retail companies got out of Amazon’s way this holiday season, at least when it came to advertising on TV. Bucking the trend away from TV advertising – Target was an exception – Amazon aggressively boosted its ad spending on TV by 76 percent, at the same time increasing digital ad spending by 224 percent. Meanwhile, Walmart cut television advertising by 10 percent, Sears by 53 percent, and Nordstrom by 45 percent. Target was the only retailer to boost ad spending across every medium, including print, TV and online. Its spending on print ads went up four percent, while TV spending rose 54 percent. [Image credit: © Amazon ]
Deena M. Amato-McCoy, "Amazon increased holiday TV ad spend in a big way", Chain Store Age, December 29, 2016, © Chain Store Age
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Online Grocery Deliverer Fulfills Orders Using Advanced Warehousing, Robotics

December 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British online grocery delivery firm Ocado is applying an array of advanced technologies to speed grocery purchases to consumer homes. The company maintains a 350,000 square-foot warehouse near Birmingham that beats Amazon at automated order fulfillment. Most of the 48,000 lines of products it sells are perishable, many chilled or frozen. The complex, time-sensitive optimization challenge is handled by sophisticated technologies like swarm robotics – teams of robots that cooperate to find, lift and grab products from shelves – as well as autonomous delivery vehicles, and machine-learned preferences. The company is expanding its warehousing and robotics capabilities to be able to handle and deliver more products even faster in the future. [ Image credit: ©  Wikimedia  Commons ]
Jamie Condliffe, "The Robotic Grocery Store of the Future Is Here", MIT Technology Review, December 29, 2016, © MIT Technology Review
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Discount Stores, Drugstores, Grocery Stores Favorite Sources Of Health And Beauty Aids Of Almost Three-Fourths Of US Consumers, Report Says

December 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the US, discount stores, drugstores, and grocery stores combined are the top store formats, with 73.8 percent of consumers purchasing health and beauty care products as of November 2016, according to Fung Global Retail & Technology. Data from the market research firm's report, “US Health and Beauty AIDS Consumer Survey” revealed online stores account for 4.2 percent, significantly higher than the 1.0 percent recorded in November 2011. About 42 percent of respondents said they purchased some or all of their health and beauty aids online, while online retailers accounted for 8.7 percent of value share in the segment.
"US Health and Beauty AIDS Consumer Survey: Amazon is Not Only Competitive in Price, but Also in Customer Satisfaction", Fung Global Retail Tech, December 23, 2016, © The Fung Group
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A Busy Year For Sephora

December 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
2016 has been a busy year for Sephora. Online, it has two new bot-powered beauty tools for Facebook's Messenger. The new Sephora Reservation Assistant allows customers to book appointments for makeovers at Sephora stores, and Color Match is a shade matching extension for the Sephora Virtual Artist bot. It has also been working to provide more of an ominchannel experience for shoppers, and is also rumored to be looking to expand its physical footprint too, with a store outlet in London’s Westfield shopping center. Further afield, it has see growth in India and opened a new distribution center in Poland. In Brazil, it is expanding distribution by rolling out its products in El Corte Ingles stores. [ Image credit: © Folio Images
Louise Prance Miles, "2016 in review: Sephora – the digital disruptor", Global Cosmetics News, December 19, 2016, © Global Cosmetic Media Limited
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Supermarket Trends Will Stress Gaining, Maintaining, Shopper Loyalty

December 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A supermarket analyst says the top trends of 2017 will improve customer loyalty to stores and lead to better informed shoppers. Trends include greater use of digital technologies, faster checkout, greater variety in the produce department, more meal kits, and the availability of more detailed product information. One way to maintain shopper loyalty, according to John Karolefski, is for stores to increase emphasis on digital marketing. Grocers will embed beacons in shelves shelves, signs and product displays. The sensors interact with smartphones to provide coupons and other discounts. In addition, look for more mobile apps as a way to offer discounts and specials to shoppers. Lastly, expect online grocery ordering and delivery to grow as shoppers become accustomed to the convenience. [ Image credit: ©  Wikipedia ]
"Top Trends in Grocery Shopping for 2017 Announced", News release, GroceryStories.com, December 16, 2016, © GroceryStories.com
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The Drone Delivery Era Begins With Amazon Test In U.K.

December 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon launched a drone delivery test in the U.K. on December 7 that involves only two customers. The test will be expanded to several dozen, and then eventually several hundred, customers who live close to its first Prime Air fulfillment center near Cambridge. Drones are loaded with packages up to five pounds and then rolled out on rails for takeoff. The goal is to ensure that all deliveries arrive within a half an hour. The first Amazon drone delivery – it took 13 minutes from online order to drop off – was an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn. The drones only fly during daylight and optimum weather conditions. [ Image credit: © Amazon.com ]
Frederic Lardinois, "Amazon starts Prime Air drone delivery trial in the UK — but only with two beta users", Tech Crunch, December 15, 2016, © AOL Inc
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L’Oréal’s Beauty Squad Is Yet Another Example That Authenticity Pays Off Online

December 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A review of how L’Oréal Paris in the UK leveraged relationships with video bloggers underscores the benefit of a shrewd but straight up approach. A few months ago the company worked with five vloggers that combined have 5.5 million views with the aim of working with Kristina Bazaan, the brand’s global digital influencer, to boost the brand and maintain its position as the ‘go-to digital beauty brand.’ Rather than work with one or two vloggers that have wider reach, working with the five members of the Beauty Squad allows L’Oréal Paris to better reach a range of ages and ethnicities. Also, while each vlogger has a smaller base, they are selected for their knowledge and expertise. L’Oréal hopes that by building long-term relationships and seeking honest and comparative reviews it will manage to convince consumers over the long haul.  [Image credit © Philipp Nemenz]
"Here’s How L’Oreal Is Gaining Competitive Advantage With Its ‘Beauty Squad’ ", Trefis, December 12, 2016, © Insight Guru Inc.
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India's E-commerce Market Expected To Expand 200 Percent In 2015-2025

December 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
India's e-commerce market, valued at $19.2 billion in 2015, is forecast to expand more than 200 percent by 2025. Growth in the online retail sector is driven by many factors, including rising penetration of the internet and smartphone ownership, expanding online consumer base, changing lifestyles among Indian consumers, and advances in payment technology. Also, the market is expected to see an increase in merger and acquisition activity, driven by international retailers, such as Alibaba, Amazon, and Walmart, seeking to acquire or merge with the country's leading e-commerce companies.
Kristina Balciauskaite, "Anticipated E-Commerce Boom will Drive Logistics Industry in India", Euromonitor, December 11, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Costco Finally Getting Serious About Ecommerce

December 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Costco acknowledges that it’s lagging in ecommerce. As competitors built out their offerings – in the last year Target has invested in IT and improving its search function while Walmart tripled its online range and now offers grocery pickup at hundreds of stores – Costco remains largely a bystander.  Its online sales of around $4 billion (about 3% of sales) are lower than those of much smaller stores such as Best Buy or Macy’s.  Chief Financial Officer, Richard Galanti, recognizes that the company doesn’t meet industry standards but says that this will change. Improvements include increasing the number of high-end brands available online, improving search and streamlining checkout. It will also rollout better order tracking and simplify returns. In all this, Costco must balance its desire to offer a limited number of items (the average store carries about 8,000 against some 150,000 at a Walmart) and its desire to remain a physical destination where it feels it can better differentiate. [Image credit © Kris Wilson]
Phil Wahba, "Costco's Battle Plan for the E-Commerce Wars", Fortune, December 08, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Mintel Report Highlights Four North American Consumer Trends

December 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mintel’s new report on North America consumer trends highlights four topics. The first, which the author calls “The Echo Chamber of Secrets”, suggests that the rush to personalization means consumers are only being shown ideas and services they already identify with and brands need more disruption to help reach inside consumers’ “bubbles” to encourage them to extend beyond their comfort zones. “Reality 2.0” reflects the growing demand for novel experiences that enable the consumer to become more immersed in their chosen worlds, through technology like virtual and augmented reality, and live streaming. Mintel says consumers are becoming frustrated with inaction by “the system” and encourages brands to “Be the Change”. The fourth trend, “Life in Sync”, suggests that the strides being made by artificial intelligence are making life smarter and more seamless. [ Image credit: © Eugenio Marongiu ]
Carli Gernot , "Trend Tracker: North America Consumer Trends 2017 (1/2)", Mintel, December 07, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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India To Become Second Largest E-Commerce Market Within 20 Years

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The authors of Worldpay’s Global Payments Report 2016 say that India will become the second largest e-commerce market by 2034, replacing the US behind China. It expects the channel in India to grow at an average 28 percent per year from 2016 to 2020, reaching nearly $64 billion in that year. Etailers like Amazon and Alibaba are establishing platforms to take advantage in the growth of online sales in India, driven by rising Internet penetration. Worldpay expects the 350 million Indian consumers online today to almost double to 600 million by 2020, supported by rapid take up of mobile phones and inexpensive usage. Worldpay expects the use of e-wallets to grow strongly in India, from just eight percent of the country’s online shoppers today. [ Image credit: © ]
"India Set to Become World's Largest E-Commerce Market", Business Standard, December 05, 2016, © Business Standard
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Urban Decay The Only Genius Beauty Brand In L2's 2016 Beauty Digital IQ Index

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
L2 has published its 2016 Digital IQ Index® for Beauty. There’s just one Genius brand this year, down from five in 2015, and L2 says brands from large companies have to compete with agile rivals as social media and e-tailers like Amazon weaken barriers to entry. The top brand is L’Oréal’s Urban Decay, with a Digital IQ of 142. L2 says the brand “boasts the most sophisticated mobile site in the Index”, featuring an augmented reality app. Two brands share second spot at 136: Benefit, which is prioritizing mobile and responds fast on Facebook Live; and Maybelline, the “most visible brand in the Index when it comes to paid search.” Lancôme, MAC, L’Oréal, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Kiehl’s and Too Faced fill the remaining top 10 spots. [ Image credit: © davidgoldmanphoto ]
Elisabeth Rosen, "Top 10 Beauty Brands in Digital", L2, December 05, 2016, © L2 Inc.
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Getting To Know – And Market To – Generation Z

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Luxury brands are now trying to figure out how to market to Generation Z, the demographic born since 1995 and chiefly known as “digital natives.” The Z group is the new target market because it has substantial potential buying power and strongly influences the spending of parents and grandparents. They may not be buying luxury products now, but they will soon. Experts say Gen Z is impulsive, ad wary, sensitive to BS and “hates being talked down to.” They’re aware of product options and how to get targeted info. They want to be popular, part of a group. They define their identity by social media “likes” and followers. For marketers, all of this means finding a way to bring “their Internet to life.” [ Audi A3; Image credit: ©  Wikimedia ]
Elizabeth Paton, "Luxury Brands Seek a Way into Generation Z", The New York Times, December 05, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Snack Maker Goes Direct-To-Consumer With Holiday Cookie Website

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The maker of Oreo cookies hopes to take advantage of the growing number of U.S. consumers buying food and beverages online. Mondelez launched a website this month to sell holiday Oreo tins for $19.99. The site lets customers send cookies to friends using only a mobile number or e-mail address. The technology was developed by a 60-person in-house e-commerce team – tasked with generating $1 billion in e-tail sales by 2020 – after Mondelez found last year that the cost of outsourced e-commerce development and management cut into profits. The company’s new technology will be used to sell other products online in the U.S. and abroad. Whether food manufacturers can succeed at online direct-to-consumer brand marketing without Amazon’s logistical clout remains to be seen. [ Image credit: ©  Mondelez  ]
Craig Giammona, "With Amazon Looming, Oreo Maker Dives Deeper Into Online Retail", Bloomberg Technology, December 05, 2016, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Ulta Target Millennials With AR App, Seeking To Make Buying Fun And Interactive

December 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online sales for Ulta Beauty continue to grow strongly –Q3 online sales rose 59.3% from $46.2 million to $73.6 million, and now comprise 6.5% of total sales, up from 5.0% last year.  Some two-thirds of traffic is coming via mobile and the company is seeking to play to this with the launch of Glam Lab, an iOS and Android app that lets shoppers virtually try out products before buying them. Users upload a selfie or choose a model with a similar complexion then choose the products and shades to test.  “It’s a great thing for millennials who wanted to have a more interactive experience,” said CEO Mary Dillon.  Hints of the company’s intent came clear in October when it filed a trademark for Glam Lab that would be a multi-platform application that would include augmented reality.  [ Image Credit © Ulta Beauty ]
 
 

 
Matt Lindner, "Ulta Goes Glam on Mobile", Internet Retailer, December 02, 2016, © Vertical Web Media
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London Shoppers Can Get Estee Lauder Purchases Delivered In An Hour

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Shoppers in London won’t have to wait long for Estée Lauder products they buy this Christmas. The Estee Lauder Companies is to launch on Facebook’s Messenger service in the UK, enabling it to deliver in an hour within London, according to a report in The Telegraph, and will also open a pop-up shop near its London headquarters on Mortimer Street. The Messenger bot communicates with customers using artificial intelligence, and the customers can choose an instant courier within London. The company is embracing digital and recently established a mentoring program for senior managers to learn about social media from younger employees. [ Image credit: © David Ryle ]
Gurjit Degun, "Estee Lauder launches on Facebook Messenger for 60-minute deliveries", Campaign Live, December 01, 2016, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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In-Person Shopping Way More Important Than Online For Cosmetics And Grooming Products

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A recent Harris Poll found that in-person purchases remain dominant for cosmetic and grooming products, and especially so for trialing and first time purchases.  The research underlined the importance of in-person channels, finding that around 90% of purchasers shop in-person for a range of personal care items, including hair styling products, shampoos and conditioners, cosmetics, non-sunscreen products with SPF protection, and sunscreen.  “Big box” retailers continue to be the preferred purchase location. Online channels are more popular for smaller items, with 40% of purchasers shopping online for cosmetics and 34% for facial/skin care products. They are less likely to shop online for bulkier items, likely reflecting shipping costs: just 17% shop online for shampoo/conditioner and 22% for sunscreen.  In all this, price remains the most important determinant of where consumers will purchase: 87% say they’ll buy a product wherever they can get the best deal. [Image credit © Image Source, Caia Image]
"Brick and Mortar Merchants Remain Top Purchasing Location for Cosmetic & Grooming Product Consumers", Harris Poll, December 01, 2016, © Harris Poll
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Marketers Must Rethink Their Approach For Gen-Z Consumers

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for predictions for the coming year, and Kantar Millward Brown have weighed in with their thoughts on how companies  will have to market to Generation-Z, the post-Millennials group. This group wants creative content led by mobile, and marketers will have to create strong brand experiences for them, including sophisticated and brand-centric programmatic targeting, rather than more intrusive media that risks ad blocking. Kantar Millward Brown provides six takeaways: brands will re-think for the digital space, emphasizing issues such as authenticity and transparency; brand experience is increasingly key; content marketing will gain momentum, particularly on mobile, with marketers innovating and experimenting in content and formats; advertisers and their agencies will need more sophisticated and blended targeting approaches to drive brand effectiveness; the advertising industry will be forced to respond to ad blocking; and advertisers and agencies will be given more opportunity to leverage media synergies. [ Image credit: © Graham Winterbottom Photography ]
"Media & Digital Predictions 2017", Kantar Milward Brown, December 01, 2016, © Kantar Milward Brown
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Established Beauty Brands Evolving To Fight Fast-Growing Indie Brands

November 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In its report, “Digital IQ Index: Beauty US 2016”, L2 highlights efforts beauty brands are making to keep pace with competition from indie brands, which have been able to compete with established brands where barriers to entry have been lowered by social media and e-tailers, such as Amazon. Brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills have seen rapid growth and have reinvested profits to bolster their direct-to-consumer sales channel. They are increasingly becoming acquisition targets for larger beauty companies fighting an “arms race.” Recent deals include Estée Lauder’s acquisition of BECCA Cosmetics and Too Faced, and L’Oréal’s grab for IT Cosmetics. L2 also says that Masstige beauty brands are learning from fast fashion brands, and are disrupting the beauty scene by being first to market trending products, supported by strong merchandising, and some alike NYX and e.l.f. Cosmetics are opening physical stores. 2016’s Digital IQ Index® benchmarks 99 beauty brands. L’Oréal’s Urban Decay came top, followed by Benefit from the LVMH stable, and then two more L’Oréal brands, Maybelline and Lancôme. L’Oréal featured twice more in the top 10, with L’Oréal Paris and Kiehl’s. [ Image credit: © Blend ]
"Digital IQ Index® Beauty US 2016", L2 Inc, November 30, 2016, © L2 Inc
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Bloggers Are Challenging Beauty Industry’s Standard Business Practices, Creating Headaches For Established Players

November 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Social media has spawned many bloggers that are starting to shake up the beauty industry, changing what we expect from makeup, how models get noticed and how brands go to market. These bloggers are often young and with little experience of or allegiance to established ways of doing business and some players are irritated. Social media tends to homogenize and makeup is now tilting to “Instagram makeup” that relies on strong contouring and highlighting as popularized by Kim Kardashian West, leaving some makeup artists frustrated.  Aspiring models are offering time and photoshoots to popular bloggers and cutting out agents in the process. And some brands are working with bloggers to promote launches, some with notable success. While brands previously focused on those bloggers with largest reach some are now working with influencers with a smaller, perhaps more dedicated audience where there’s a stronger overlap in values: “…brands that will be successful and the influencers who will be successful are those who keep the idea of authenticity,” said Robert DeBaker, the CEO of Becca Cosmetics. [ Image credit © Zave Smith ]
Crystal Martin, "Instagram Face’: Is It the End of Good Makeup?", The New York Times, November 30, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Mondelez Signals Importance Of E-Commerce To Its Growth Plans

November 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The departure of chief media and e-commerce officer Bonin Bough has led to organizational changes that affect Mondelez’s e-commerce and marketing strategies. Jeff Jarrett will now head global e-commerce under chief growth officer Tim Cofer, who said the move demonstrates that e-commerce is “a key priority and growth pillar” and signals the company’s strong belief in the value of direct-to-consumer channels. The e-commerce team will have complete responsibility and accountability for its revenue, margin and operations. According to Cofer, the goal is to build an e-commerce snacks business worth $1 billion by 2020. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
Jennifer Faull, "Mondelez Separates E-Commerce from Marketing Following Bonin Bough Exit", The Drum, November 28, 2016, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Oriflame Refocuses Its Strategy On Skin Care and Wellness

November 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Oriflame, the Swedish direct selling brand, is looking to narrow its focus to concentrate mainly on skincare and wellness, supported by cosmetics and fragrance products. It will focus less on personal care, but the change could take some time. It hopes eventually to increase the share of skincare and wellness from 34 percent to 50 percent of its total sales. The decision reflects what the brand sees as global trends, including the growth of interest in wellness. A study by KPMG together with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and says the direct selling industry in India could grow to Rs.64,500 crore in revenue by 2025 but, at just Rs 7,500 crore in 2013-14, accounted for less than one half of a percent of total retail sales in India. [ Image credit: © India Picture ]
Harveen Ahluwalia, "Oriflame to bet big on skincare, wellness in new strategic push", Livemint.com, November 28, 2016, © HT Media Ltd
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Advanced Technologies Can Help Consumers, Businesses Avoid Food Waste

November 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Research data suggest that a large amount of the £17 billion of food waste generated in the U.K. annually could be avoided if consumers and businesses behaved differently. Newly developed technologies can help with behavior change. The Wrap charity says 58 percent of the 1.9 million tons of surplus food created by industry is avoidable, and emerging tech solutions could play a major role. British trade publication The Grocer outlines eight of the “most exciting innovations solving food waste.”  Among them: an app that allows businesses to share information about their surplus food with registered charities; a robotic “chef” that boosts efficiency and precision in food production; and a tech solution called Winnow that foodservice operations can use to track and monetize food wasted in their kitchens. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
Megan Tatum, "How is New Technology Tackling Food Waste?", The Grocer, November 24, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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China Continues To Embrace Online Shopping

November 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the second volume of a report on shoppers in China, Kantar Worldpanel and Bain & Company highlight continued rapid growth in online sales and expansion in the number of categories bought online. Online sales of FMCG products grew 36.5 percent last year, with volume up 69 percent. A decline in the average selling price came from the broadening of product options beyond the expensive original categories, baby care and beauty. It also found that physical stores are trying to complement online shopping, with the growing popularity of convenience stores driven by urbanization, for small baskets and top-up shopping. The authors believe that online and offline channels need to adapt to the changing reality to stay competitive. The growth in online shopping was demonstrated by the 11/11 Singles’ Day promotions. This year, Alibaba drew sales of $17.8 billion in the day, and the report suggested reasons for this sales splurge: existing shoppers choosing to spend more on the day; shoppers deferring purchases in the lead up to the day; and new shoppers attracted by the promotions. [ Image credit: © Lost Horizon Images ]
"Dealing with Two-speed China", Kantar Worldpanel, November 24, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Lack Of Authenticity Trips Up Luxury Retailers But Lets Sephora Shine In Consumer Engagement

November 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Research by Shareablee released in advance of Black Friday and the start of the biggest shopping season of the year shows Sephora is considerably outperforming other retailers on social media this year. Sephora had 2.4 million consumer interactions (which includes reactions, shares, comments, retweets, favorites) across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with engagement on Instagram especially important. This contrasts with big box and luxury retailers that all showed declines in social engagement, with Homegoods down 74%, Barneys off 50% and Bergdorf Goodman down 39% compared to last year. Shareablee CEO and Founder, Tania Yuki puts the shift down to greater consumer skepticism about retailer engagement attempts: “The consumer is much more skeptical of the retail season this year, and are rewarding only those retailers truly making an effort to be authentic and to add value to their shopping and research…”. [Image credit © Wonwoo Lee ]

 
"Beauty Retailer Sephora Leads Consumer Engagement on Social in the Run Up to Black Friday as Many Major Retailers Struggle to Capture Consumer Interest", PRNewswire, November 22, 2016, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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L'Oreal Set To Reap Rewards Of China's Beauty Sales Growth

November 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market analysts Trefis highlighted a Morgan Stanley report on China’s beauty products market, which the authors believe will become the world’s largest. It was L’Oréal’s second largest market in 2015, behind the US, and the company’s leadership in digital gives it an advantage in a market where e-commerce sales of beauty items rose from 3% of the total beauty market in 2010 to 19% in 2015. Online sales account for over 20% of the company’s Consumer Products division’s total sales in China. Morgan Stanley notes the growing demand for premium cosmetics by Chinese consumers online or through travel retail channels, and L’Oréal’s luxury products division is well placed to capture this sales growth. Trefis said that skin care is L’Oréal’s most valuable segment and it expects the company to expand its share in global skin care, with China playing a major part in that. [ Image credit: © Lost Horizon Images ]
"Here’s How L’Oreal Can Benefit From The Booming Beauty Market In China", Trefis , November 22, 2016, © Insight Guru Inc.
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Beauty And Personal Care Brands Recognized For Mobile Marketing Innovation

November 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty and personal care companies were among the list of those with campaigns presented with The Mobile Marketing Association’s 2016 Smarties awards. Silver in the Global – Mobile App category went to Unilever’s Dove brand for ‘Love Your Curls Emojis’. Sally Hanson, a Coty brand, won bronze in the same category for its ManiMatch app, a nail polish makeover tool. In the Latin America region, L’Oréal captured Programmatic category gold and Location-Based silver for its Ralph Lauren Polo Red Fragrances campaign for the travel retail channel.  [ Image credit: © Maskot ]
Deanna Utroske, "Beauty and personal care brands celebrated for mobile marketing innovation", Cosmetics Design, November 17, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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