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Supermarkets Turn To “Experiential Retailing” To Grow Market Share

August 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though 25 percent of U.S. grocery shoppers say they are spending more at supermarkets, Mintel data show otherwise. Consumers are actually more likely to shop for groceries at other channels, like mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs and drug stores. Nearly two in five consumers shop secondarily at Walmart, the highest retailer “also shopped” for groceries. Total U.S. multi-outlet sales of groceries will rise 2.5 percent this year to $652 billion, but supermarket sales will grow only 1.9 percent to $317.8 billion. The result? To compete, grocers are turning to innovation and experiential retailing to hold onto or grow market share. For example, ShopRite in Morristown, N.J., offers an in-store restaurant, juice bar, oyster bar and a daycare center for shoppers with children. A store in Hanover Township (N.Y.) includes a fitness studio and a cosmetologist on weekends.
Diana Smith, "US Grocery Stores Struggle To Keep Up", Blog entry, Mintel, August 15, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Snack Maker Associates Brand With Kindness In New Mobile Marketing Ploy

August 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Kind Snacks is trying a new mobile marketing strategy that links "kindness" with a snack bar reward. The strategy allows Kind to reach more mobile users while putting the brand in a positive light. Consumers show their appreciation for family and friends by sending an ecard via Facebook, Twitter or email. The family member then enters an email address – or Twitter username or Facebook name – to claim a free Kind granola snack bar. Recipients can claim their reward within seconds and then participate themselves in the “pass it on” campaign. The gimmick is just one of a number of ways CPG marketers are boosting mobile engagement while getting the word out on their products.
Alex Samuely, "Kind Snacks Unpacks Brand Awareness Via Mobile-Driven Product Giveaway", Mobile Marketer, August 15, 2016, © Napean LLC
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Spending Trends Make Some Retail Sectors Skittish

August 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retail sales in the U.S. were sluggish in July, especially among clothing and electronic goods vendors, where shopping is shifting from brick-and-mortar stores to the Internet. It’s not because American consumers aren’t spending. After all, unemployment is down, income is up, and energy prices remain low. U.S. households have increased spending every quarter since the end of 2009. But there has been a shift in where Americans spend, toward entertainment, travel and healthcare -- and online. The experts don’t seem alarmed. One economist said the news signals “a pause in a good pace of spending”, while a global forecaster expects a 2.6 percent gain in gross domestic product this quarter over a year earlier. Still some sectors have reason to be nervous: consumer spending is falling at sporting goods stores, food and beverage stores, restaurants and bars.
Suzanne Kapner et al., "Where We Spend Is Upending Traditional Retail", The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Brexit Will Have Good And Bad Impact On UK's Beauty And Personal Care Market, Mintel Analyst Says

August 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers are expected to reduce their spending in time of uncertainty following the UK's vote to leave the European Union, according to Mintel senior personal care analyst Roshida Khanom. Although Brexit's impact on the beauty and personal care industry remains to be seen, Khanom expects the luxury segment to get a boost from tourists attracted by the sharply devalued pound. Also, the UK's cheaper currency will strengthen exports of local brands, which become more affordable for businesses and consumers outside the country. Brexit's impact is also expected to drive growth for online shopping, as UK consumers seek to avoid the rising costs of importation.
Lucy Whitehouse , "Exclusive interview - Mintel: exclusive expert view on Brexit and beauty", Cosmetics Design , August 11, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Women Internet Users In France Buy Cosmetics From Brand-Owned Online Stores

August 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In France, seven in 10 women who use the Internet and have bought cosmetics online have bought facial care products, such as creams and cleansers, according to CCM Benchmark. Results of the market research firm's April 2016 survey revealed more than 60 percent have also bought makeup and body care products from online stores. Also, 57 percent of respondents said they have purchased from brands' online stores, while 50 percent said they have bought from sites operated by retail chains, such as Sephora. Only 32 percent said they have bought from online retailers, such as Amazon.
"Most Women in France Buy Cosmetics Online", eMarketer , August 11, 2016, © eMarketer Inc
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Walmart Buys Jet.com; Girds For Future E-Commerce Wars

August 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has completed its $3.3-billion acquisition of online retailer Jet.com, as part of its efforts to improve its ability to compete in the e-commerce market. Although ranked as number 2 in L2's Digital IQ Index: Big Box report for its e-commerce capabilities, Walmart lags behind market leader Amazon. In 2015, Walmart reported $13.7 billion in online sales, while Amazon earned more than $92 billion.
Elisabeth Rosen, "Walmart’s New E-Commerce Weapon", L2 Daily, August 08, 2016, © L2 Inc.
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Walmart Seals Acquisition Deal With Online Retailer Jet.com

August 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has inked a deal to buy fast-growing ecommerce retailer Jet.com for $3 billion in cash, both up front and over time, as well as $300 million in shares over time. The company says the acquisition brings numerous benefits, most significantly expanded customer reach and new capabilities that will mean faster ecommerce growth. Other benefits: Jet has proven it can scale with speed, having reached $1 billion in run-rate gross merchandise value and 12 million SKUs in its first year; 400,000 new shoppers are added to its customer base each month (especially urban shoppers and Millennials); and its technology rewards customers in real time with savings on items bought and shipped together, reducing supply-chain and logistics costs.
"Walmart Agrees to Acquire Jet.com, One of the Fastest Growing e-Commerce Companies in the U.S.", News release, Walmart, August 08, 2016, © Walmart Stores
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Sephora, Macy's Add Instagram Stories To Social Marketing Tools

August 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
LVMH-owned beauty retailer Sephora and Macy's have joined other marketers that are using Instagram’s Stories feature as part of their social media marketing campaigns. Part of Instagram’s efforts to compete with rival social media platform Snapchat, the Stories feature allows users to record video and pictures. These videos and pictures appear as top updates of selected newsfeeds for only 24 hours.
Brielle Jaekel, "Sephora, Macy’s embrace Instagram Stories for easier accessibility than on Snapchat", Luxury Daily, August 05, 2016, © Napean LLC
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New Federal GMO Labeling Law Gives Food Companies A QR Code Option

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The new federal GMO labeling bill signed into law recently by Pres. Obama requires food manufacturers to list GMO ingredients either in plain writing, via an FDA-created icon, or through a digitally-readable QR (quick-response) code requiring a smartphone app. The app would link the shopper with more detailed information on GMO ingredients. Food manufacturers are happy about the QR code option. But non-GMO advocates argue that looking up GMO ingredient info on a smartphone is an unwieldy process that shoppers are likely to ignore. Consumer research seems to support the contention: a poll of 1,011 U.S. adults found that 59 percent weren’t likely to use their phones or an in-store scanner to find GMO data. Forty percent said they were likely to do so. Eighty-one percent approved of the push to disclose GMO ingredients on labels.
Heather Haddon, "Consumer Advocates Wary of Digitally Coded Food Labels", The Wall Street Journal, August 03, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Wal-Mart In Talks To Buy Jet.Com Inc., Reports Say

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reportedly negotiating to buy online discount retailer Jet.com Inc. Representing a significant expansion in Wal-Mart's e-commerce operations and efforts to compete with online rival Amazon.com Inc., a purchase deal would improve the retail giant's warehousing and delivery capabilities. Launched in 2014, Jet.com began as a most serious challenge to Amazon's hold on the market leadership position in the online retail segment. Jet.com has raised more than $500 million and could be valued at up to $3 billion.
Greg Bensinger et al, "Wal-Mart in Talks to Buy Web Retailer Jet.com", The Wall Street Journal, August 03, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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What Walmart Would Gain From Acquiring Ecommerce Innovator Jet.com

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though Jet.com is barely a year old, it is already an ecommerce giant thanks to an innovative logistics platform that calculates in real-time the most efficient way to fulfill orders and pass savings onto shoppers while they shop. Walmart is in discussions with founder Marc Lore – he of Quidisi.com fame – to purchase Jet.com, and Euromonitor sees a number of advantages for Walmart in the deal. Certainly there would be immediate access to four million shoppers and $1 billion in online retail sales, expected to reach $20 billion within five years. But over the long term, Walmart could become much more competitive with online powerhouses eBay and Amazon.com, thanks to Jet’s innovative ecommerce practices. Another benefit: Jet.com has expanded into grocery delivery, which Walmart is eager to try.
Michelle Malison, "Why Walmart Wants to Buy Jet.com and What You Need to Know About the Potential Deal", Blog post, Euromonitor International, August 03, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Diminishing Shelf Space Drives CPG Companies To Try Online Innovation

July 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Manufacturers of food, drink, beauty, and personal care products are losing store shelf space thanks to the rise of own-brand discount supermarket chains like Aldi and Lidl, and smaller stores that sell independent brands. To meet the challenge, manufacturers – Reckitt Benckiser, Nestlé, Diageo, Unilever, etc. – are increasingly focusing on e-commerce, selling through e-tail websites. But they are also experimenting with delivery-on-demand and subscription-based models. It’s a rising trend: online shoppers globally spent $87 billion on CPG items last year, nine percent of the total online spend. Twenty-five percent of people in 60 countries in 2015 ordered grocery products online for home delivery. Fifty-five percent said they would do so in the future.
Martinne Geller, "Consumer Goods Firms Plot New Paths Amid E-Commerce Boom", Reuters, July 29, 2016, © Reuters
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Wal-Mart Works More Closely With China's WeChat Mobile Social Network

July 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its partnership with mobile social network WeChat in China as part of its efforts to attract more consumers into its stores. In July 2016, Wal-Mart started allowing shoppers to check out in more than 100 stores across the country using WeChat Pay mobile payment. Also, the retailer runs a loyalty program aimed at the followers of its WeChat account. Using its WeChat account, Wal-Mart launched a digital gift card feature, enabling local consumers to send virtual gift cards.
Frank Tong , "Wal-Mart offers new mobile cross-channel features for Chinese shoppers", Internet Retailer, July 28, 2016, © Vertical Web Media
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Why Digital Shopping Is On The Rise: Brick-And-Mortar Stores Are Not Much Help

July 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Almost all of the 44.4 million digital shoppers in the U.K. are likely to buy something online this year, according to survey data from consultancy Pragma. They increasingly tend to prefer using digital channels at every stage of the shopping process, except when making the final purchase decision and resolving post-purchase issues. At these points, they often prefer to head to the store. This means that stores are not doing a good job of keeping customers up-to-date on the latest products, providing detailed product information, or even allowing simple product browsing. The key finding proving that U.K. stores are failing their customers: only four percent say they’re shopping online less than they used to – compared to 32 percent shopping less in physical stores.
"UK Internet Users Reject In-Store Shopping", eMarketer, July 26, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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Procter & Gamble Launches Online Magazine For Women Of Certain Age

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble Co. launched London-based Victoria.co.uk, an online magazine for women 50 years or older. Part of the company's efforts to promote its brands in Europe, the online magazine offers discounts and samples of P&G products for women who register to subscribe. In addition to allowing subscribers to post comments about articles, review products, and buy online, the magazine features content produced by five leading women journalists. These include former London Telegraph Magazine fashion features director Tamsin Blanchard, former London Mail on Sunday relationship columnist Zelda West-Meads, and health and nutrition writer Patsy Westcott.
Barrett J. Brunsman, "Here's why P&G just launched online magazine for women over 50", bizjournals.com, July 22, 2016, © American City Business Journals
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Sephora Supports Relaunch Of Sephora Collection Private-Label Brand With Mobile Campaign

July 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora is supporting the relaunch of its Sephora Collection private-label brand with a campaign on dating app Tinder and other mobile social media platforms. Sephora created 1,000 photographs of products and swatches and is running ads on the media-rich mobile sites and apps. Online store Sephora.com includes the “swipe it, shop it” feature, which is based on Tinder’s website design. Sephora said it will later be able to add photographs of consumers’ own looks.
Lauren Johnson, "Sephora Is Driving Mobile Sales With Tinder-Like Features and Digital Mad Libs Plus actual ads on the dating app ", Adweek, July 21, 2016, © Adweek
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Flipkart Readies For A Price War With Amazon

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
India-based online retailer Flipkart Ltd. is preparing for a market war with bigger rival Amazon. Established in 2007 by Binny and Sachin Bansal, Flipkart managed to grow into the country’s biggest e-commerce company. Proving naysayers wrong, the company also proved its founders’ assertion that India was ready for online retail. Flipkart reached $100 million in sales in 2011; however, its infrastructure, including warehouses and servers, could not keep up with its rapid growth. Then, sales stagnated, an attempt to focus on mobile failed, important executives left the company, and in early 2016, a Morgan Stanley fund downgraded Flipkart’s value from $15 billion to $11 billion. With the local e-commerce company losing ground to its foreign-based rival, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ promise to invest another $3 billion in his company’s Indian operations signals more challenging times for Flipkart.
Saritha Rai, "India's Flipkart Has an Amazon Problem", Bloomberg, July 19, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Carrefour Rolls Out Apple Pay In Stores Across France

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour said that starting on July 19, 2016, customers will be able use Apple Pay mobile payment system to pay for their purchases at Carrefour hypermarkets, supermarkets, and convenience stores across France. Also offered by Carrefour Banque to its 2.5 million customers in the country, Apple Pay highlights the retailer's efforts to provide shoppers with a fast and convenient means of paying for goods, and participate in the Carrefour loyalty program at the same time.
"Apple Pay is now available in Carrefour stores in France and to Carrefour Banque customers", Carrefour, July 19, 2016, © Carrefour
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Procter & Gamble Launches Tide Wash Club Subscription Service In Atlanta

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble Co. launched in Atlanta the Tide Wash Club, an online subscription service for the company’s Tide Pods laundry product. Part of the consumer goods company’s efforts to also focus on how consumers buy products, Tide Wash Club offers free shipping at regular intervals. Also, the company is testing in Chicago Tide Spin, a service that allows consumers to use a smartphone to order laundry products for pickup or delivery.
Sharon Terlep, "P&G Starts Online Subscription Service for Tide Pods", Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Online Health Food Retailer Profits From Program To Reduce Waste

July 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A British online health food, beverage and supplement retailer hopes to raise $130,000 through crowdfunding to expand its program of selling out-of-date products at steep discounts. Vitalife’s “Love Health Hate Waste” initiative, launched a year ago, has kept nearly a million dollars’ worth of foods, drinks and supplements from ending up in landfills. The company said it was throwing away products that had reached their best-used-before date but were still “perfectly fit for consumption and legal to sell.” The company sells the products at discounts as high as 90 percent off retail. Under the program, which is expected to turn an $800,000 profit this year, “we are making healthy food and drink accessible to everyone,” a spokesman said.
Edward Devlin, "Vitalife in Crowdfunding Bid for Love Health Hate Waste", The Grocer, July 15, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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EBay Upgrades Mobile Websites With Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages Technology

July 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online marketplace eBay Inc. updated some of its mobile webpages with Google Inc.’s Accelerated Mobile Pages technology. Developed to help businesses build mobile pages that load as fast as possible on smartphones, AMP is based on open-source standards. AMP-using mobile pages can load quickly because its HTML code includes restrictions, such as preventing customized Javascript coding. AMP also uses Google’s AMP Cache, a content delivery network that confirms each page works and does not depend on outside resources. With AMP, eBay helps consumers who access its mobile website from links, including Google search and Twitter.
April Berthene, "eBay dives into Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages", Internet Retailer, July 11, 2016, © Vertical Web Media
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Food Delivery Robots Take To The Streets In European Cities

July 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A robot food delivery start-up announced it is testing its business strategy and technology with the help of several European food and parcel delivery companies, including Pronto, Hermes, and Just Eat, as well as grocery retailer Metro Group. Starship Technologies, created by two Skype co-founders, will launch dozens of delivery robots in London, Düsseldorf, Bern and another German city to start. It will then move to several other European and American cities. It already operates delivery robots in Tallinn, Estonia, its headquarters location.
"Starship Technologies launches testing program for self-driving delivery robots with major industry partners", News release, Starship Technologies, July 06, 2016, © Starship Technologies
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Low Shipping Rates Drive Growth For China's Alibaba Group

July 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Very affordable overnight shipping rates in China have been a biggest factor driving growth for online retailer Alibaba Group Holding. Some of the growth should be credited to the company's Taobao online marketplace and the low prices of goods offered by its 10 million merchants. Alibaba has no direct hand in arranging shipping for Taobao merchants; each seller has to deal with one of the country's largest private courier companies. China's four largest shipping service providers are Shunfeng, or SF Express, and YTO Express, STO Express, and ZTO Express. On Taobao, a 3kg box of Tide washing detergent costs $3.13, or 20.90 yuan, including shipping. In contrast, the same product would cost at least $53 in the US, with at least $35 going to shipping.
Peter Fuhrman, "Cheap shipping hidden key in Alibaba's success", Nikkei , July 06, 2016, © Nikkei Inc.
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Sephora Updates Mobile App With Virtual Lash Try-On Feature And Augmented Reality Tutorials

July 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora said it has added new features to its Sephora Virtual Artist application. Available for download on the Sephora App, the features are a new false lash virtual try on, which is added to the lip function, and step-by-step cosmetics tutorials using augmented reality technology. According to the company, Sephora Virtual Artist uses a smartphone's camera to map the location and shape of a user's facial features. Sephora's partner, ModiFace, developed the facial visualization and skin analysis technology.
"Sephora Virtual Artist Expands With New Features For Virtual Lash Try On And Live Tutorials", MultiVu, July 06, 2016, © MultiVu
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Purchase Data Help CPG Marketers Find Their Quarry

July 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An increasing number of consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers are relying on purchase-based advertising, as well as location tracking and other technologies, to more sharply target potential buyers. Purchase-based advertising is based on data derived from retail websites as well as from retail stores. As evidence of the pervasiveness of the technology, mobile ad firm 4Info reports that 99 percent of the campaigns it has managed for CPG clients use purchase information. 4Info gets the data – stripped of identifiable personal information – from Nielsen Catalina Solutions, which collects UPC-level information streams directly from participating grocery and drug stores every day. The data reflect purchase information from 90 million households. The information is sophisticated enough to allow advertisers to hone their message as well.
Kate Kaye, "Grocery Brands Flock to Ads Informed by Your Real-World Shopping", Advertising Age, July 05, 2016, © Crain Communications
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Glow Recipe Sells Korean Beauty Products Online; Aims To Educate American Consumers About Them

June 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Glow Recipe seeks to provide consumers in the US with Korean beauty products and accurate information about them. According to Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, co-founders of the online retail platform, see their company as curators of K-beauty products rather than a mere retailer. Also, the company employs a diverse panel of evaluators to ensure the suitability of Korean products they sell with the array of skin types in the American market. For example, the Splash Mask by Korean brand Blithe is one of the most popular products on the online store. Lee and Chang had to convince the manufacturer to change the product's name from Patting Water Pack to Splash Mask for American consumers.
Yim Seung-Hye, "Glow Recipe aims to educate U.S. in K-beauty", Korea JoongAng Daily, June 29, 2016, © JoongAng Ilbo
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Poll Finds Online Food Shopping Has Become Fairly Routine For Certain Americans

June 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though Americans still make frequent trips to grocery stores, they’re also increasingly likely to buy food online, according to a Harris Poll of nearly 2,000 U.S. adults 18 or over. Thirty-one percent – 45 percent of all online shoppers – said they buy food online for convenience, to save money, or to find items they can’t find anywhere else. Most likely to buy online are Millennials (36 percent vs. 31 percent generally), college grads (35 percent vs. 26 percent with high school or less), parents and city dwellers. Most popular items purchased are snacks (20 percent) and non-alcoholic beverages (17 percent), while baking products and frozen foods are least popular (12 percent each). The best foods for online purchasing are non-perishable or have a long shelf life (49 percent), or are difficult to find in stores (48 percent).
Allyssa Birth, "Purchasing Food Online: The New Normal?", News release, The Harris Poll, June 29, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Walmart Promises That All Suppliers Of U.S.-Made Goods Will Get A Shot On Its Website

June 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart execs recently met with 800 suppliers to hear pitches on potential Walmart.com products that are made exclusively in the U.S. The company said a third of the companies at the U.S. Manufacturing Summit were minority- or women-owned. A Walmart merchandising executive promised that all of the products – except those that can’t be shipped because they contain hazardous materials – would be automatically approved for sale on Walmart.com. The Summit is part of the company’s initiative, launched in 2013, to spend $250 billion on American-made goods for its stores, Sam’s Club, and website.
Marty Cook, "At Latest Summit, Walmart Seeks More American-Made Goods", Arkansas Business, June 28, 2016, © Arkansas Business Limited Partnership
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Tesco Lotus Seeks To Double Online Business In Thailand Every Year

June 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco's Thailand business unit Tesco Lotus said it plans to double its online retail business in the country every year for the next 3‒5 years. Tesco Lotus digital and online business director Wanna Swuddigul said the growth plans are in line with growing consumer demand for instant access to information, products, and services. According to the company, its digital platform involves e-commerce, which offers products to customers through Tesco Lotus Shop Online and the Tesco Lotus shop on Lazada online market. Tesco Lotus uses Digital Connection, the second component of its e-commerce operations, to keep in touch with customers through social media and other online channels.
Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn, "Tesco Lotus aims to double online shopping every year", THE NATION , June 28, 2016, © www.nationmultimedia.com
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Troubled U.K. Online Grocer Ocado May Benefit From Brexit Fallout

June 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
O woe is online grocer Ocado. British supermarket chain Morrison is complaining that its deal with Ocado has been profitable for Ocado only, and signals it may back out. The company faces competition on its own turf from Amazon Fresh, which has made a supply deal with Morrison. And Waitrose, whose products Ocado sells, may pull out of its arrangement. These and other problems – it has failed to attract any European or U.S. partners – have depressed Ocado’s stock values by 25 percent since April. However, Ocado may benefit in several ways from the fallout of the recent Brexit referendum. The British pound is taking a beating versus the dollar, so an overseas supermarket will pay less to have Ocado manage its online grocery business. It also means that a potential buyer would pay less to buy Ocado outright.
Andrea Felsted, "Ocado's Found a Silver Lining in Brexit", Bloomberg Gadfly, June 28, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Walgreens Says More Than 135 Million Electronic Coupons Clipped By Consumers

June 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens said more than 135 million Paperless Coupons have been clipped by customers. First launched in 2014, the retailer's electronic coupons program has been available to the company's more than 85 million active Balance Rewards loyalty program members through its website and mobile app. According to Walgreens, it has continued to improve and simplify its paperless coupons by offering manufacturer coupons in collaboration with Quotient.
"Walgreens Launches Next Evolution in Paperless Coupons, Enabling Seamless Redemption and Clipping on Digital Channels", Business Wire, June 28, 2016, © Business Wire
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India’s Flipkart Experiments Again With In-House Brand Marketing

June 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
India’s online retail marketplace Flipkart will be licensing its house brands in jewelry, mobile, and fashion accessories to approved sellers, according to reports. Suppliers must be capable of fulfilling the company’s quality manufacturing benchmarks and product specifications. This is the company’s second try at boosting its high-margin private-label business. Three years ago it launched in-house brands Digiflip in consumer electronics, Citron in home appliances and Flippd in apparels. The brands failed to gain a toehold in their markets; the company has stopped selling Digiflip tablets.
Aditi Shrivastava, "Flipkart looks to fill up cart with own brands", The Economic Times, June 28, 2016, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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RB Partners With HookLogic To Expand Mobile E-Commerce Operations

June 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Reckitt Benckiser partnered with e-commerce technology firm HookLogic to help expand the consumer goods company's mobile e-commerce capabilities. HookLogic lets brands place search, display, and product listing ads directly on e-commerce websites and in apps using a network of retailers that includes Sears, Costco, Walmart, and Target. In June 2016, HookLogic launched a tool for identifying sets of user actions. This attribution tool allows clients to measure results of their marketing across the network. Also, the company launched an e-commerce ad exchange designed to expand its programmatic ad serving capabilities. HookLogic also said it can help clients determine whether a keyword search brought an internet user who clicked on a product and whether the user ends up buying the item.
Allison Schiff , "CPG Giant Reckitt Benckiser Gets Serious About M-Commerce", AdExchanger, June 24, 2016, © AdExchanger.com
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Carrefour Plans To Test One-Hour Delivery Service For Parisians

June 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour plans to test one-hour delivery service in Paris, according to retail trade magazine Lineaires. Reportedly dubbed Carrefour Now, the test offering will run in three Carrefour Market stores. Store employees will ready consumers' orders, which will be delivered by bicycle riders courtesy of La Poste. Also, the retailer plans to start offering Apple Pay to its customers in France.
"Carrefour Testing One-Hour Delivery", Retail Analysis, June 22, 2016, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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ModiFace Launches Beauty Advisor Bot For Facebook Messenger

June 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Technology firm ModiFace launched a beauty advisor bot for Facebook Messenger. Offering a hint of what the future of beauty shopping looks like, the bot is programmed to help shoppers choose lipsticks by brand, color, or shade name from a lineup of 20,000 products. Designed to direct customers to where they can buy their favorite lipstick, the beauty advisor bot answers most questions related to lipstick options. ModiFace sees lipsticks as a test platform for the bot technology and sees more complex applications for the technology in the future.
Rachel Brown , "ModiFace Launches Facebook Bot for Beauty Customer Service", Women's Wear Daily, June 22, 2016, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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Wal-Mart Sells China E-Commerce Site To JD.com

June 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it has agreed to sell its Yihaodian website in China to JD.com Inc., the country’s second-largest online retailer. As part of the deal, which marks a strategic shift in the US-based retailer’s approach to e-commerce business in China, Wal-Mart will receive a 5-percent stake in JD.com. After opening its first store in China in 1996, Wal-Mart has found it hard to expand in the country where it operates about 430 locations. In 2012, Wal-Mart first invested in Yihaodian and gained full control of the website in 2015.
Rick Carew, Alyssa Abkowitz and Sarah Nassauer, "Wal-Mart to Sell Chinese E-Commerce Business to JD.com", Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Amazon Plans To Launch Business In Indonesia, Local E-Commerce Executive Says

June 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon plans to enter Indonesia's e-commerce market, according to Indonesia E-commerce Association chairman Daniel Tumiwa. According to Tumiwa, local e-commerce companies “stand no chance to win against” the online retailer. Tumiwa also said Amazon plans to invest $600 million for its proposed Indonesia operations.
Anisa Menur, "Amazon to enter Indonesian market, gets US$600M ready for its first year", Yahoo! News, June 20, 2016, © Yahoo! News
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Amazon Announces Lower Shipping Fees To Better Compete With Online Rivals

June 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. announced lower fees it charges merchants that sell small, flat products that can fit in envelopes. Effective July 1, 2016, sellers would pay $1.61 to ship three, flat, 1-ounce packages, which is 67 percent lower than the existing fee. Covering merchants using the online retailer’s Fulfillment By Amazon Small and Light program, the move is seen as part of the online retailer’s efforts to better compete with marketplaces owned by rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., EBay Inc., and Wish.com that link China-based sellers with shoppers in the US.
Spencer Soper, "Amazon Cuts Shipping Fees in Threat to Alibaba’s U.S. Business", Bloomberg Technology, June 16, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Wal-Mart Enlists Five Elements Robotics To Help Develop Robotic Shopping Cart

June 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is collaborating with robotics company Five Elements Robotics to develop a shopping cart that would help shoppers look for items on their lists. Robotic shopping carts can help brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with Amazon.com Inc. and other retailers, according to Five Elements Robortics founder and CEO Wendy Roberts. Wal-Mart has been investing in technology to improve customers' shopping experience and compete with online retailers.
Spencer Soper and Shannon Pettypiece, "Wal-Mart Experimenting With Robotic Shopping Cart for Stores", Bloomberg , June 15, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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China Allows Wal-Mart To Acquire Online Retailer Yihaodian Without Restrictions

June 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China's Ministry of Commerce has removed restrictions on Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s acquisition of online supermarket Yihaodian. In August 2012, Wal-Mart received conditional approval for its deal to increase its investment in the online retailer, becoming its controlling shareholder with a 51-percent stake. In July 2015, Wal-Mart acquired the remaining 49 percent of Yihaodian.
Donny Kwok, "China commerce ministry removes curbs on Wal-Mart's Yihaodian deal", Reuters, June 08, 2016, © Reuters
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Amazon Continues Beating Walmart Online, Mizuho Says

June 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon's online shoppers spend about $157 a month on average, up from $130 a month in November 2015, according to financial research firm Mizuho. In contrast, Walmart's online customers reduced their average monthly spending from $30 a month to $27, data revealed. Walmart saw lower numbers despite its efforts to grow its online business, including its commitment to invest $900 million for the next two years and partnerships with ride-sharing firms Uber and Lyft to expand online delivery service. According to Mizuho, Amazon's growth is driven in part by mobile platform, with 67 percent of respondents picking Amazon as their favorite mobile shopping site.
Eugene Kim, "Here's another sign that Amazon is absolutely crushing Walmart in online shopping", Business Insider, June 07, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Amazon.com Aims To Boost Spending Power In India By $3 Billion

June 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. announced plans to invest $3 billion more in India. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the investment plans during a meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington. In contrast with local online retailers that are finding it hard to raise cash, Amazon's announcement raises its total planned investment in India to $5 billion. India could be the next biggest e-commerce market; however, Amazon is facing serious competition from local online operators, including Flipkart Internet and Snapdeal.com. Also, the company is adapting its business operations to local conditions. For example, it is doing home delivery itself and operates more and smaller warehouses in the country.
Greg Bensinger, "Amazon Plans $3 Billion India Investment", The Wall Street Journal, June 07, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Sephora Adopts ShopStyle App To Let Consumers Buy Products They See On Snapchat

June 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora has started allowing its Snapchat followers to buy products it features in live stories. By taking a screenshot and downloading the ShopStyle application, consumers can buy beauty products they like. With Snapchat not allowing marketers to include clickable shopping links in photos they upload, beauty marketers are creating ways to make money using the image-sharing website. PopSugar’s ShopStyle app is designed to help marketers monetize their Snapchat stories.
Alex Samuely , "Sephora uncaps new mobile revenue stream via shoppable Snapchats", Luxury Daily , June 07, 2016, © Napean LLC
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Unilever Works With Instacart To Promote Brands Online To U.S. Consumers

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is working with grocery-delivery service Instacart to help promote its brands to online consumers in the US. Launched in 2015, Unilever's strategic partnership with Instacart has included experimenting with different types of digital promotions linked to online purchases and deliveries. Promotions include free-shipping offers, sampling, and Instacart Deals that offer customers instant redemption of digital coupons. Instacart has run more than 30 free-delivery campaigns for Unilever brands since summer 2015.
Dale Buss, "Unilever Leverages Participation in Online Grocery Shopping", CPG Matters, June 06, 2016, © CPG Matters
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Facebook Urges Beauty Brands To Go Mobile

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Social networking site Facebook told beauty marketers that commerce is moving to the mobile platform. Launched at the company’s first beauty summit, held in Los Angeles’ Hotel Bel-Air, Facebook IQ’s report “Beauty Beyond: The Thumb is in Charge” showed three in 10 beauty and personal care purchases by consumers 18 years old and above happened on mobile from September to December 2015. Data from the report revealed millennials, mothers, and multicultural customers accounted for 81 percent of beauty purchases during the last holiday shopping season. Also, the report forecast that in 5–10 years, all consumers will be using mobile for their purchases.
Rachel Brown, "Facebook to Beauty Marketers: The Moment for Mobile Is Now", Women’s Wear Daily, June 06, 2016, © Fairchild Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC
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Retailers Look At Chatbots As Another Way Of Staying In Touch With Customers

June 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailers are testing chatbots, computer programs powered by artificial intelligence and designed to imitate human conversations, as a means to reach, retain, and sell to customers. Although chatbots have been around for years, the growing popularity of messaging apps, such as Kik, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, has made these AI-enabled chat tools popular. With American consumers' retail spending on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, forecast by eMarketer to grow from $123.13 billion in 2016 to $242.08 billion in 2020, retailers might see advantages in deploying chatbots. There are some drawbacks to using chatbots; for example, there is the risk of losing data and insights if customers stopped using their apps and websites. Also, these AI-enabled tools are still not fully capable of fully mimicking human conversations and usually fail when faced with queries and comments not covered by their scripts.
Queenie Wong, "Retailers experiment with chatbots to reach customers", Mercury News, June 03, 2016, © Digital First Media
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Birchbox Adds Retail Locations To Its Subscription-Box Business Model

June 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Birchbox Inc. plans to expand its share of the $16-billion prestige beauty industry in the US by opening retail locations. According to Birchbox co-founder and CEO, Katia Beauchamp, the company will not abandon its subscription-box business model. Instead, by opening its retail operations, the company aims to become profitable. Since its launch in 2010, the company has seen plenty of rivals with copycat versions of its samples-in-a-box offering.
Kim Bhasin et al, "Birchbox Finds Cute Boxes Filled With Makeup Aren't Enough", Bloomberg, June 03, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Pet Care Fastest-Growing Home Care Segment Online, L2 Says

June 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Among the home care categories, the pet care industry was the fastest-growing segment in 2015 in terms of e-commerce, according to L2's 2016 Home Care report. Although still a fragmented market with no clear leader yet, online sales of pet care products grew 55 percent to reach $760 million during the year. Despite online retailers' level of sophistication, pet care brands did not excel in digital, the market research firm said.
Homa Zaryouni, "Pet Care Has Highest E-Commerce Penetration in Home Care", L2 Daily, June 01, 2016, © L2 Inc.
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Wal-Mart Seeks Bigger Share Of China's Online Retail Market

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart is seeking to expand its e-commerce operations in China, as part of the company’s efforts to increase its share of the local online retail market. Yihaodian, which Wal-Mart acquired in July 2015, operates 250 e-commerce hubs in 200 cities across China. Online sales in the country reached $307 billion in 2013, hit $589.2 billion in 2015, and is forecast to grow beyond $1 trillion by 2019. In contrast, online spending in the US was $334 billion in 2015 and is forecast to reach $480 billion by 2019, according to Forrester. In China, 46 percent of shoppers are already buying groceries online for home delivery, compared with the global rate of 25 percent, according to Nielsen. Wal-Mart accounts for 1.6 percent of the local online market, which places it at number 6, behind Alibaba, which has 46.9 percent of the market and JD.com with 20.1 percent. According to analysts, Wal-Mart, which aims to be among the top 3 online retailers in the market, will find it hard to grab market share from the local online retail giants.
Anne D'Innocenzio and Paul Wiseman, "Wal-Mart Steps up Online Efforts in China as a Key to Future", ABC News, May 31, 2016, © ABC News Internet Ventures
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To Dominate Online Beauty Retail Market, Amazon Launches Live Show; Leverages Leadership In Online Product Search

May 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon launched the live show, “Style Code Live,” which gives viewers tips and advice on fashion and beauty care, as well as inspire them to buy online. Amazon's director of beauty and health & personal care Chance Wales, citing A.T. Kearney research “Beauty and the eCommerce Beast, said 53 percent of online beauty shoppers are described as “Creatures of Habit,” and are basically shopping to replenish their stock of beauty products. Amazon dominates online product search, 44 percent of online buyers said they start their product searches on Amazon. Consumers described by Kearney as “Online Enthusiasts,” comprise 31 percent of the respondents and also search for and purchase experiential products, including fragrances and color cosmetics. Amazon also aims to become the leader in the segment focused on consumers looking for new products.
Keith Anderson, "Amazon: Beauty is in the eye of the consumer", Premium Beauty News, May 29, 2016, © Premium Beauty Media
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