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Hawthorne For Men Matches Cologne To Consumer's Characteristics And Preferences

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Hawthorne for Men website invites visitors to answer questions about themselves and their habits and preferences, and then matches the responses to a cologne scent. The direct-to-consumer brand is targeting the eau de parfum market for men, which had sales of almost $70 million in 2015, according to NPD. The user is offered two options from the 10 formulas available: one a bold scent and another that is subtler. Each bottle costs $100. The company is confident it can accurately match the scent, but exchanges and returns are straightforward and returns are less than five percent, exchange requests are under 10 percent.
Dena Silver, "This Cologne Brand Accurately Chooses a Scent for You", Observer, January 04, 2017, © The New York Observer, L.P.
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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.  
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.
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.  
"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.
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.
Carli Gernot , "Trend Tracker: North America Consumer Trends 2017 (1/2)", Mintel, December 07, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Amazon Go To Open Its First Store In Early 2017

December 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
If you prefer to shop in-store for your groceries but hate waiting in line at the checkout, then maybe Amazon Go is for you. You check in with the Amazon app as you enter the shop, choose what you want and add it to your bag, and then walk out. Using what Amazon is calling “Just Walk Out” technology that it says you might see in driver-less cars, the app knows what you’ve selected and will bill your Amazon account for the goods. The first Amazon Go store, at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, WA, is scheduled to open early next year, although it’s currently open to Amazon employees in its Beta form. It’s not yet clear if Amazon plans to roll this out to other retailers.
Curtis Silver, "Amazon Announces No-Line Retail Shopping Experience With Amazon Go", Forbes, December 05, 2016, © Forbes Media LLC
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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.
Craig Giammona, "With Amazon Looming, Oreo Maker Dives Deeper Into Online Retail", Bloomberg Technology, December 05, 2016, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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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.”
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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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.
Elisabeth Rosen, "Top 10 Beauty Brands in Digital", L2, December 05, 2016, © L2 Inc.
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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.
"India Set to Become World's Largest E-Commerce Market", Business Standard, December 05, 2016, © Business Standard
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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.  
 
 


 
Matt Lindner, "Ulta Goes Glam on Mobile", Internet Retailer, December 02, 2016, © Vertical Web Media
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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.
"Media & Digital Predictions 2017", Kantar Milward Brown, December 01, 2016, © Kantar Milward Brown
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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.
"Brick and Mortar Merchants Remain Top Purchasing Location for Cosmetic & Grooming Product Consumers", Harris Poll, December 01, 2016, © Harris Poll
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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.
"Digital IQ Index® Beauty US 2016", L2 Inc, November 30, 2016, © L2 Inc
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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.
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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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.
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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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.
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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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.
Jennifer Faull, "Mondelez Separates E-Commerce from Marketing Following Bonin Bough Exit", The Drum, November 28, 2016, © Carnyx Group 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.
"Dealing with Two-speed China", Kantar Worldpanel, November 24, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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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.
Megan Tatum, "How is New Technology Tackling Food Waste?", The Grocer, November 24, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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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…”.


 
"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.
"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.  
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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Facebook Outlines Mobile Beauty Shopping Behavior

November 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A paper published by Facebook looks at how the beauty industry is using and being changed by mobile, and outlined seven key insights in a concluding “cheat sheet”. Its main takeaways included the observation that m-commerce is now mainstream and taking an increasing share of beauty and personal care purchases. It also noted how mobile is being used within physical stores to help consumers in their purchase decisions, and predicts that everyone will be mobile shoppers within 10 years. It found that shoppers are encouraged to pursue beauty purchases by content on Facebook and Instagram, but it also said that there’s more to do in mobile to make the shopping experience more convenient and frictionless. 
"Facebook Beauty Beyond ", Facebook, November 17, 2016, © Facebook
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New and Established Indie Brands Are Driving Growth In Beauty

November 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The indie beauty industry is thriving, driven by 90s brands like Urban Decay that are becoming mainstream, as well as emerging brands focused on specific areas and needs, all fueled by social media. A June report from Tribe Dynamics stated that independent brands saw double-digit growth between 2009 and 2014, over four times the pace of the cosmetics market as a whole. Big beauty companies, like L’Oreal, and other large companies with ambitions in beauty, like Unilever, are also snapping up indie brands, but there are concerns about whether these new parents will retain the brands’ independence. The Internet is intensifying customer empowerment, with the younger generations particularly skeptical of advertising claims and more willing to accept influencer opinions and reviews. In return, the brands are improving transparency and communication. The Internet is also allowing brands to sell without retailer accounts, by launching direct-to-consumer platforms and leading engagement online. Tribe Dynamics highlights Anastasia Beverly Hills as the fastest growing brand with over $10 million in sales annually. It engages regularly with over 400 influencers and is in top spot at Instagram with more than 11.5 million followers. Retailers are realizing the indie brands’ appeal, with Sephora, for example, rolling out its indie brand distribution platform, Scouted by Sephora, in 2015.
Belisa Silva, "Indie Brands Lead Beauty Industry Growth", Beauty Packaging, November 02, 2016, © Rodman Media
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Walgreens Customers Can Now Buy Online, Pick Up At Store, For Free

October 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Pharmacy chain Walgreens is following the lead of other big retailers by unveiling program that allows customers to buy online or on the phone and then pick up the purchase at a store. The new Ship to Store program, available at 7,600 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, features free shipping with no minimum order requirement. Orders can be picked within one to three days of purchase. Online purchases can also be delivered to the home for free with a minimum order of $35.
David Salazar, "Walgreens introduces Ship to Store program", Drug Store News, October 17, 2016, © Drug Store News
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Consumers Prefer To Buy CPG From Brick-And-Mortar Stores

October 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers prefer to buy consumer packaged goods from a brick-and-mortar store, according to the report, “CPG Ecommerce in the US: Expectations and Strategies for Growth.” Results of the February‒March 2016 study of Amazon by Cowen and Company revealed 78 percent of 2,500 adult respondents purchased their groceries at a supermarket in the past 30 days, with 61 percent saying Wal-Mart, and only 8 percent saying they bought online. Meanwhile, 90 percent of respondents had bought grocery or food in a physical store in the past year, according to a February 2016 study by PR firm Walker Sands Communications.
"Consumers Just Aren't into Buying Packaged Goods Online", eMarketer, October 11, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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Carrefour Italy Reveals New Look Of Online Store

October 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour revamped its online shopping business in Italy. Since September 27, 2016, the retailer's e-commerce website allows customers to do their shopping with fewer clicks than before. Also, the online retail service lets shoppers pick up their order at the company's nearest store or avail of home delivery service. Carrefour Italy's e-commerce site combines online content with the online shopping service, allowing customers, for example, to buy ingredients for the recipe they are viewing in the site's magazine section.
"Carrefour’s e-commerce service is getting a new look in Italy", Carrefour, October 11, 2016, © Carrefour
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Wal-Mart Plans To Slow Down Expansion In US

October 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it will not close stores but will open new locations at a slower pace in fiscal year 2018. During its latest investor meeting, the retailer announced plans to build 35 new supercenters and 20 Neighborhood Markets, compared with 69 supercenters and 161 Neighborhood Markets in 2015. Also, the company announced its fiscal year 2017 capital expenditure for Walmart US will be $6.4 billion, compared with $6.8 billion in the previous year. For fiscal 2018, capex drops further to $6.1 billion, the company said. As Wal-Mart battles with Amazon for market share, the company will rely more on same-store sales and growth in e-commerce, technology, and other areas.
Tonya Garcia, "Wal-Mart to take on Amazon with upgrades to its bricks-and-mortar stores", MarketWatch, October 11, 2016, © MarketWatch, Inc.
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Dutch Web Retailer Now Offers 300K Items For Same-Day Delivery

October 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Web retailer Bol.com, a unit of Dutch company Ahold Delhaize, says it has expanded its delivery capabilities to include same-day home delivery. The “Delivered Today” option is available in The Netherlands for 300,000 items if orders are placed by noon. The expansion of capabilities also includes home delivery of regular orders to seven days a week. The company introduced next-day delivery in 2011. Its goal is to increase the number of products available for seven-day, same-day delivery to a million within “a few years.”
"Global first: bol.com makes a breakthrough with same-day delivery", News release, Ahold Delhaize, October 10, 2016, © Ahold Delhaize
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Line Separating Online And Offline Retail Continues To Blur, Report Says

October 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In 2016, the retail market will see several current trends intensify and further shrink the gap between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retail, according to the report, “US Holiday Ecommerce Preview 2016: Mobile to Fuel Explosive Ecommerce Growth,” by eMarketer. Data from the market research firm predict retailers will adopt improved fulfillment options, local advertising tools, offline attribution, and omnichannel platforms. Also, mobile is helping close the gap between the two segments, a trend forecast to become more pronounced in the 2016 holiday season.
"Gap Between Online and Offline Commerce Is Shrinking", eMarketer, October 10, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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Amazon Most Visited Online Store In France, Study Reveals

October 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In France, more than six in 10 consumers who shop online and had made at least one online purchase in the past six months had shopped at Amazon, according to the Federation du E-commerce et de la Vente a Distance and Mediametrie. Amazon was the most visited site with both PC and mobile, accounting for 30 percent of internet users on both platforms—15 million average monthly unique desktop and laptop visitors in the second quarter and 10.4 million on mobile. Data showed Amazon was the only one on the top 10 that is not based in France.
"Where Do Digital Buyers in France Shop?", eMarketer, October 07, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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Amazon Settles On Flat Monthly Fee For Online Grocery Delivery Service

October 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The online grocery shopping service AmazonFresh is now cheaper for Prime members. The service, originally priced at $299 per year, later shifted to a $7.99 per delivery scheme, but is now being offered at $14.99 a month to Amazon Prime subscribers. AmazonFresh is now live in the Boston area, in addition to Baltimore, Seattle, major cities in California, the New York metro area, northern New Jersey, the Philadelphia metro, Northern Virginia, Stamford (Conn.), Trenton (N.J.) and London (U.K.). Customers can order by 10 a.m. for same-day delivery by 6 p.m., or order by 10 p.m. for delivery by 6 a.m. the following day.
Sarah Perez, "AmazonFresh Drops to $14.99 Per Month for Prime Members", Tech Crunch, October 06, 2016, © AOL Inc.
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Household Care Leads Strong Growth In CPG Online Sales

October 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online sales of household care products grew 42 percent in 2015, compared with the previous year. In contrast, overall online sales of consumer packaged goods rose 30 percent during the same period. Among household segments, laundry detergents grew the fastest at 85 percent, with Procter & Gamble's Tide brand grabbing the number 1 spot in the US in both online and offline sales. Factors helping online retailers succeed in expanding sales of household care products include selling in bulk and automation of the re-ordering process. Online retailers' profitability is driven by factors including price-to-weight ratio and price pack architecture.
Keith Anderson, "Sales of Cleaning Supplies Are Booming In the eCommerce Channel", CPG Matters, October 01, 2016, © CPG Matters
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Wal-Mart Looks At Acquiring Minority Stake In India's Flipkart

September 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reportedly negotiating to invest as much as $1 billion in India-based online retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Valued at about $16 billion, Flipkart is the largest online retailer in the country; however, its hold on the market is under assault by Amazon and other rivals. Under the proposed deal, Wal-Mart would acquire a minority stake in the online retailer. Such a deal would significantly benefit both parties, enabling both Wal-Mart and Flipkart to expand their operations in India, the third most important e-commerce market after the US and China.
Saritha Rai, "Wal-Mart Is in Talks to Invest Up to $1 Billion in Flipkart", Bloomberg Technology, September 29, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Online Marketplace For Excess Fruits, Vegetables Goes Live In U.K.

September 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A British entrepreneur has created an online marketplace where supermarket buyers of food can find and purchase excess produce from growers quickly and easily. Fruitspot has attracted 600 users who can benefit from supply and demand imbalances. Growers can advertise excess stock ready for sale, and buyers can post notices of what they need for their stores. Users notify a verified network of buyers or sellers to receive quotes that solve their needs very quickly, according to Fruitspot founder Jose Baptista.
Kevin White, "Fruitspot Fruit & Veg Online Marketplace Goes Live", The Grocer, September 27, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Selling Surplus Food Is Easier With New Online Auction Marketplace

September 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Selling surplus food – caused by overruns, irregular sizing, package changes, discontinued items, overstock, etc., – is a real hassle because the process is “chaotic, difficult, frustrating and extremely time consuming.” The key problem is the lack of a true marketplace where surplus product is exposed and sold. That problem may be solved, however, with the emergence of My FoodBids, a sort of eBay for food. The auction-style online marketplace is a quick, easy and safe way for food manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to sell surplus inventory anonymously. The service is free to buyers; sellers pay a standard 10 commission on a sale.  It is designed to encourage higher bid prices, and faster sales, through open bidding without pricing caps. 
"My FoodBids: The First Online Food Auction Marketplace for Surplus Foods. Think Ebay for foods", News release, My FoodBids, September 21, 2016, © My FoodBids
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Tesco Lotus Collaborates With Lazada To Offer Online Shopping In Thailand's Non-Urban Regions

September 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco Lotus has partnered with online retailer Lazada to offer online shopping to customers living in Thailand's upcountry regions. While consumers in Bangkok use online shopping websites, such as Lazada and Zalora, very few people in the country's interior regions shop online. As part of the partnership deal, Tesco Lotus has installed Lazada kiosks in the company's Tesco Lotus Express and Talad locations.
"Tesco Lotus attempts to introduce online shopping to customers in upcountry", Coconuts Bangkok , September 20, 2016, © Coconuts Bangkok
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Amazon Leads In Europe's Online Retail Market, Report Says

September 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon was the largest online retailer in Western Europe in 2015 in terms of revenue, according to the report, “Fung Global Retail & Technology Internet Retailers Ranking for Europe.” In 2012‒2015, Amazon increased its market share in Germany from 36 percent of all online sales to 43 percent, according to Euromonitor. Zalando improved its profitability during the period, according to S&P Capital IQ, becoming one of Europe's largest online retailers in the process. UK-focused online retailer John Lewis saw its online sales expand at a CAGR of 23.4 percent during the period covered by the report.
"Identifying E-Commerce Winners: Our Ranking For Western Europe", Fung Global Retail & Technology, September 19, 2016, © Fung Global Retail & Technology
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Walmart Says It Has Finalized Purchase Of Jet.com

September 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., said it has completed its acquisition of online retailer Jet.com, Inc., after the expiration of the federally mandated waiting period. Expected to help the retail giant accelerate its e-commerce expansion efforts, the purchase deal was valued at approximately $3 billion cash and $300 million in Walmart shares. As part of the deal, Jet.com founder and CEO Marc Lore joins Walmart as EVP and president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce in the US.
"Walmart Completes Acquisition of Jet.com, Inc.", Walmart, September 19, 2016, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Ahold Gears Supply Chain For Online Success

September 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retail company Ahold has reorganized its supply chain to support its online business, which it aims to grow to €2.5 billion by end of 2017. Ahold's online-business-focused supply chain structure features various fulfillment options, as well as flexibility in delivery services and pick up points for customers. According to the retailer, its supply chain has been revamped to promote operational excellence in fulfilling online orders.
"Ahold Delhaize: driving excellence in online operations", Retail Analysis, September 13, 2016, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Amazon Plans To Open 100 Stores In US

September 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon plans to open around 100 pop-up stores in shopping malls in 2017, according to Business Insider. Aimed at selling the online retailer’s lineup of electronics, including its Amazon Basics devices, the stores will occupy about 300 square feet to 500 square feet of mall space. With Amazon introducing private-label devices, the company’s pop-up stores are likely to pose a threat to electronics retailers, such as Best Buy and Staples.
Aimee Picchi, "Amazon May Roll Out of Dozens of Pop-Up Stores", CBS News, September 12, 2016, © CBS Interactive Inc.
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Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality Offer Retailers New Ways Of Reaching Customers

September 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies are expected to significantly affect the retail industry. Retailers seeking to integrate VR and AR into their business models should first decide which technology to use for specific applications, then determine whether the application is for in-store or out-of-store use. Also, retailers need to identify their customers who would prefer an AR or VR solution, then establish the technology's value proposition. Retailers need to connect the solution to their business model, establishing measurable financial or customer-engagement objectives to make sure the VR/AR solution is creating value for the business.
Dan McKone et al, "Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Reshape Retail", Harvard Business Review, September 09, 2016, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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