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Several Trends Driving Growth In MENA Region's Beauty And Personal Care Market, Study Reveals

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the Middle East and North Africa region, 46 percent of Arabs believe that chemicals in cosmetics are toxic, according to “The Future 100: MENA Trends and Change to Watch in 2016” report by Innovation MENA Group. This belief is driving the trend among consumers to adopt natural beauty products, including those sold by global brands Naturisimo and Lush. Data from the study, which also highlighted trends in other market segments, such as technology, travel and hospitality, and retail, also revealed a growing trend among beauty brands involving the use of superfood ingredients to create products and recipes. Another trend in the beauty and personal care segment identified by the study involves the expansion of standard beauty treatments to include the use of biological elements, biological body fluids, and biological waste.
Mennah Ibrahim , "Future 100: MENA Trends and Change to Watch in 2016", JWT The Innovation Group, April 20, 2016, © The J. Walter Thompson Group
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China Leads Rest Of World In Adoption Of Mobile E-Commerce

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In China, the number of consumers who said they had made online purchases using a mobile device jumped from 18 percent in 2014 to 43 percent in 2015, according to the PwC Total Retail Survey 2016. In contrast, the global average increased from 12 percent to 20 percent during the same period. In general, e-commerce is growing faster in emerging markets than it does in developed countries. China leads the way, with mobile devices becoming the dominant channel for retail purchases, with 20 percent of Chinese respondents saying they made online purchases daily.
Emily Backus, "Mobile Dominates Among Chinese Shoppers", Women’s Wear Daily, April 20, 2016, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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Retailers Transform The Physical Store On Their Way To Adaptive Retail

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailers are changing the nature and features of their physical stores in order to combine the best of brick-and-mortar operations with multichannel business. Today’s store functions as a showroom, a distribution center, and a multichannel hub, simultaneously. Retailers seeking to implement adaptive retail need to implement the four-point strategy for multichannel success: they must understand their customer; evaluate their store base and distribution network; model the revenue and the cost side; and choose the migration and format strategy.
"Adaptive retail: Redefining the role of the store to improve competitiveness", Accenture Strategy, April 20, 2016, © Accenture Strategy
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Walmart Walks The Talk On Way To Seamless Shopping

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is combining its various assets, including its 2.3 million employees, 11,500 retail stores, e-commerce websites and mobile apps, and supply chain, as well as new capabilities and fresh thinking, to offer customers seamless shopping, CEO Doug McMillion said. According to the CEO, the company is investing about $2.7 billion over two years to raise wages, provide staff with education and training to empower Walmart employees. Also, the company is speeding up implementation of e-commerce and technology platforms worldwide, including the expansion of online shopping to new markets, in-store and in-club pickup, and the acquisition of China-based online retailer Yihaodian.
"What is Seamless Shopping? Q&A with CEO Doug McMillon", Walmart , April 20, 2016, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Amazon Launches Prime Service With Monthly Subscription; Offers Streaming Film And TV As Standalone Service

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon launched a version of its Prime customer loyalty program with a monthly subscription fee. Instead of paying $100 per year, customers can opt to pay $10.99 per month instead. Customers choosing the monthly option will end up paying almost $33 more per year, but will have the choice of terminating subscription whenever they want. Also, Amazon will allow customers to pay just $8.99 per month to access the company’s streaming TV and film service.
Andrew Griffin, "Amazon Prime Video: Company launches monthly subscriptions and splits off streaming film and TV services", Independent, April 18, 2016, © Independent Digital News and Media Ltd.
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Amazon Finds It Hard To Beat Up Rivals In Grocery Industry

April 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon’s grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh, has failed to grow as fast as the company hoped and market analysts expected. In contrast, the company’s Amazon Prime loyalty program and Amazon Web Services online storage service have become multi-billion-dollar brands and boosted market value to almost $300 billion. Its inability to offer delivery prices lower than those offered by rivals and geography prevent Walmart from expanding its grocery delivery business beyond the largest urban centers. Wal-Mart Stores, which claims to have a store within a 5-mile radius of 70 percent of Americans, is expected to maintain its hold on the number 1 position in the grocery trade, the only market segment it outperforms Amazon.
Jeremy Bowman, "Amazon still can't crack the grocery industry", Business Insider, April 17, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Beauty And Personal Care Forecast To Be Next Big Thing For Online Market In Europe, Study Reveals

April 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In Europe, online sales of beauty and personal care products are forecast to grow more than 8 percent year on year until 2019, according to A.T. Kearny. Results of a study conducted by the consulting firm revealed the category could be the next big online category in the continent. Women still dominate the segment, with 53 percent of women shopping online for beauty and personal care products, while only 34 percent of men do so. Data also revealed that women and men spend equal amounts of money online on these products. Amazon ranked as the favorite online store for 22 percent of shoppers in the UK and 25 percent in Germany.
"Beauty and personal care, the next big thing in Europe", Ecommerce News, April 15, 2016, © Ecommerce News
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Benefit Cosmetics, Other Brands Start Using Facebook Live To Connect With Consumers

April 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Benefit Cosmetics has been using Facebook Live video-streaming service to run “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!,” a live stream where a guest and a host discuss a beauty topic and give out advice to viewers. Brands have been slow to adopt Facebook Live as a tool for marketing and keeping in touch with customers. Other brands using the service include Matches Fashion, iHeart Radio, and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Tanya Dua, "'It's about scale': How 5 brands are using Facebook Live", Digiday, April 15, 2016, © Digiday
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UK Online Grocery Shoppers Buying More Groceries Online, Mintel Report Says

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the UK, 29 percent of people who shop for groceries online are doing more online grocery shopping now than they did 12 months ago, according to Mintel. Data from the market research firm revealed online grocery sales are forecast to rise 13 percent to £9.8 billion in 2016, compared with about £8.6 billion in 2015. Moreover, sales are expected to expand by another 73 percent to reach £15 billion by 2020. Online grocery retailers are expected to see their sales jumped 110 percent from £1.1 billion in 2010 to about £2.3 billion in 2015. Mintel said 48 percent of UK consumers currently buy groceries online, with 11 percent doing all their grocery shopping online, and another 12 percent doing most of their grocery shopping online.
"29% Of UK Online Grocery Shoppers Are Shopping For Groceries More Online Now Than A Year Ago", Mintel, April 14, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Shopify Buys Virtual Marketing Tech Provider Kit CRM

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Shopify Inc. said it has agreed to buy privately held Kit CRM Inc., a virtual marketing assistant technology firm. According to the cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform, the acquisition will help Shopify focus more on the increasingly popular trend of “conversational commerce.” Established in 2013, Kit CRM works as a virtual marketing assistant for small businesses, helping entrepreneurs with their marketing tasks.
"Shopify To Acquire Kit CRM", Business Wire, April 13, 2016, © Business Wire
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Retailers Find 4 Ways To Digital Marketing Success

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailers are adopting four ways of using digital marketing to influence consumers. To encourage consumers to visit their stores, retailers are using digital technology to offer local information. Data from Google revealed 75 percent of shoppers who find local information in search results are more likely to visit stores. Once consumers are in the store, retailers use digital to improve shoppers’ in-store experience. For example, Sephora lets shoppers use their smartphones while shopping in-store to search for product recommendations through the company’s Sephora App. Also, retailers are finding out that email is the most effective channel to promote personalized interactions with consumers. Data from Criteo showed 80 percent of retail marketers are using personalized email marketing strategies. Mobile is a vital component of retailers’ digital marketing success. According to Forrester Research, m-commerce is forecast to grow so fast that it may potentially account for 54 percent of total e-commerce revenue by 2018.
Larisa Bedgood , "4 Ways Retailers Are Making Big Strides in Digital Marketing", CustomerThink , April 13, 2016, © CustomerThink Corporation
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Sephora, DFS Boost Asia Business By Adopting E-Commerce

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty and personal care company Sephora and travel retailer DFS have expanded their e-commerce operations in Asia, a market expected to generate $1.4 trillion in online revenue by 2020. After acquiring regional e-commerce company Luxola, Sephora has strengthened its overall business in South East Asia by building its online brand in the region. Speaking at the eTail Asia conference in Singapore, Sephora Digital chief operating officer Ronan Hurley said the strength of the company’s brand name has helped Sephora build its credibility in Asia. For its part, DFS has adopted an online-to-offline approach to e-commerce, according to the company’s vice president of e-travel retail.
"Sephora, DFS embrace e-commerce in Asia", Warc, April 13, 2016, © Warc
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Wal-Mart Works With ChannelAdvisor To Expand Online Product Lineup

April 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced a partnership with software company ChannelAdvisor Corp. as part the retailer’s efforts to increase the number of products on its online store. According to Wal-Mart, the deal is expected to make it easier for retailers and vendors working with ChannelAdvisor to bring their products to Wal-Mart’s website. Expanding its online offerings, which currently stand at about 9 million items, is one of Wal-Mart’s priorities for its online business in 2016.
Nathan Layne and Mari Saito, "Wal-Mart ties with ChannelAdvisor to boost online assortment", Reuters, April 12, 2016, © Thomson Reuters
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Alibaba Acquires Controlling Stake In Lazada For $1 Billion

April 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Internet company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said it will invest $1 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Singapore-based e-commerce startup Lazada Group. Marking the Chinese firm’s largest overseas acquisition ever, the acquisition of Lazada follows Alibaba’s purchase in December 2015 of Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper for $266 million. Alibaba said it was spending $500 million to buy newly issued Lazada shares and $500 more on shares owned by existing shareholders, including Rocket Internet, Tesco PLC, and AB Kinnevik.
Alyssa Abkowitz et al, "Alibaba to Invest $1 Billion in E-Commerce Startup Lazada", The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Tesco Launches IFTTT Channel To Allow Shoppers To Automatically Order Online

April 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco launched a channel on IFTTT, an automation service designed to let shoppers order groceries automatically and stay up-to-date with price changes on the retailer’s online store. Tesco Labs, the retailer’s innovation unit, is responsible for the move, which makes Tesco the first UK supermarket to launch a channel on the service. IFTTT means “If This Then That,” and allows users to connect different online accounts to activate smart actions.
Shona Ghosh, "Tesco trials Amazon Dash-style automatic grocery reordering", Marketing Magazine, April 12, 2016, © Haymarket
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Rakuten Opens Business Office In Bengaluru; Eyes India's E-Commerce Market

April 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Japan-based Internet company Rakuten opened a business office in Bengaluru. Also, the company is reportedly talking with other Internet companies, including Amazon and Flipkart, as part of its strategy to launch an e-commerce business in India. In 2014, the company opened a development center in the city.
Niranjan R, "Rakuten eyes India's e-commerce market: Report", International Business Times, April 12, 2016, © International Business Times, India Edition
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Gillette Launches Razor Subscription Service In UK

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand launched the Gillette Club razor subscription service in the UK. To support the launch of the subscription service, the brand also unveiled a campaign that promotes the service as “an offer so good, it should probably be illegal.” By launching the service, P&G says it can compete better with new rivals, including Bearded Colonel, King of Shaves, Cornerstone, and Close Shave Society. In 2015, Gillette filed a patent lawsuit against Dollar Shave Club, which has grabbed 8 percent of the $3 billion US market for razors and blades since 2013.
Sheila Shayon, "‘Loyalty Pays’: Gillette Expands Razor Subscription Service to the UK", BrandChannel, April 11, 2016, © Interbrand
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European E-Commerce Companies Join China's International E-Commerce Expo For First Time

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Leading e-commerce platforms from Europe are participating in the 2016 China International Electronic Commerce Expo. European e-commerce companies’ participation in the event is a first for the industry event. Bol, the largest online retailer in the Netherlands; Ricardo, the leading online shopping mall in Switzerland; and Zalando, a popular website selling shoes and fashion in Germany, are attending the event, due to huge demand for China-made products in their respective markets.
"China Exclusive: European countries debut at China Int'l E-commerce Expo", Xinhua English.news.cn, April 11, 2016, © Xinhua, english.news.cn
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CoverGirl Launches First Beauty App

April 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble’s beauty brand CoverGirl launched its BeautyU mobile app. In addition to its augmented reality features, the app comes with a face scan designed to help identify users’ individual facial features. Also, it includes a diagnostic tool, which helps create a customized look or product list for a particular user. BeautyU also offers a range of options on the user’s features and profile.
Faye Brookman , "Cover Girl Unveils Beauty App", Women’s Wear Daily, April 08, 2016, © Fairchild Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC
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Click-And-Collect Trend Continues Upward Swing In US Online Retail Market

April 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
During the 2015 holiday season, almost one-third of all shoppers in the United States chose to do their purchases online, then pick up the products they bought at the retailer’s brick-and-mortar store, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Results of the organization’s survey revealed almost 70 percent of shoppers ended up buying more merchandise while picking up their purchase in store. In the online grocery sector, click-and-collect data are even more impressive, with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and The Boston Consulting Group reporting a 30–50 percent increase in sales across all channels compared with traditional shopping.
Keith Anderson, "Click-and-collect continues to evolve, but where is it headed?", Supermarket News, April 08, 2016, © Penton
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Russia Plans To Create Unified E-Commerce Platform For Connecting Local Manufacturers With Foreign Buyers

April 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development said it has developed a plan for integrating the country’s e-commerce, in the process creating a unified platform for linking up Russian manufacturers with foreign buyers. In December 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed the creation of an office that would oversee the implementation of large-scale economic projects. This proposed office would also cover efforts to provide local producers with access to global markets via online platforms.
"Russia Draws Up Plan for Integrated E-Commerce Export Platform Launch", Sputnik International, April 08, 2016, © Sputnik
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Landing International Launches B2B Online Marketplace For Hard-To-Find Beauty Brands

April 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Los Angeles-based Landing International launched Marketplace, a business-to-business online platform for the beauty care industry. Designed to enable buyers to identify and connect with brands from anywhere in the world, Marketplace will focus on hard-to-source beauty products. Company founder and CEO Sarah Chung said the platform will focus on South Korean products at the start. By providing a brand a profile with products, marketing materials, sales channels, and other related information, the platform will make it easier for buyers to find alternative and niche brands.
Simon Pitman, "New B2B US digital platform debuts with Korean and Asian products", CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com, April 08, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Amazon Faces Legal Uncertainty After India's Announcement Of New Foreign E-Commerce Rules

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon and other e-commerce companies operating in India are facing the possibility of running afoul with the country's economic laws following the government's issuance of additional rules regarding foreign ownership of online retail companies. Although faced with uncertainty, which is part of doing business in the country, Amazon and its competitors are attracted to the country's online market. From $12.1 billion in 2015, the market is forecast to explode to almost $75 billion by 2020, according to Forrester. Such growth forecasts have prompted Amazon executives to predict that within a decade, the country could be the company's second-largest market following the United States.
Nick Wingfield et al, "Amazon May Violate India’s New Rules on Foreign E-Commerce", The New York Times, April 07, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Shiseido Works With ModiFace To Create Virtual Reality Mobile App For IPSA Brand

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Shiseido partnered with virtual reality makeover technology provider ModiFace to create a mobile app for its IPSA brand. Designed to let users see the brand’s products and combination looks virtually applied to their photographs, the IPSA Makeup Simulator also provides users a list of products they tried and then share results on social media platforms. Shiseido joins a long list of Asian beauty brands, including AmorePacific, Allergan China, and Loft, which have collaborated with ModiFace to develop mobile apps for their product lines.
Faye Brookman , "ModiFace Creates App for IPSA", Women’s Wear Daily, April 07, 2016, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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Lancome Partners With Edgecase To Upgrade Online Store

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal’s beauty brand Lancome updated its online store. According to the brand, its new website will better reflect consumers’ online shopping experience. By using the Edgecase Product Intelligence Platform, the company hopes to ensure that the website’s descriptions are in tune with the consumers’ language. Edgecase’s technology helped the brand focus on products’ key attributes, highlighting factors that differentiate them from rival brands and products, Lancome said.
"Lancome makes Web site update based on consumer insights", Mobile Marketer, April 07, 2016, © Napean LLC.
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Alibaba Claims Retail Market Crown For Itself; Analysts Disagree

April 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Alibaba Group declared itself the world’s largest retailer as of March 31, 2016, the end of its fiscal year, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In March 2015, Alibaba group executive vice chairman Joe Tsai said the company has recorded 3 trillion yuan, or about $476 billion, in gross merchandise volume. Some retail market analysts, however, disagreed with Alibaba’s pronouncement, saying the company’s business was too different from that of Walmart and hence there cannot be a meaningful comparison. Moody’s Investors Service debt and retail analyst Charles O’Shea said Walmart’s status as a physical retailer is a different business model than that of Alibaba.
Evan Clark , "‘Retail Economy’: Alibaba Claims Top Spot, Experts Take Exception", Women’s Wear Daily, April 06, 2016, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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Target Adds Coupon-Clipping Feature To Cartwheel Savings App

April 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Target said it has added a new feature to its Cartwheel shopping app to help shoppers save money at checkout. Previously focused on providing customers with discounts on items, the app has been expanded to support digital coupons from manufacturers, the company said. With the new feature, shoppers can clip digital coupons, which are the same as those on the local Sunday newspapers. Target said it is currently testing the new service, developed in partnership with third-party provider of digital coupons, Quotient.
Sarah Perez, "Target’s savings app Cartwheel now lets you clip real coupons", Tech Crunch, April 04, 2016, © AOL Inc.
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Walmart Plans To Expand Online Business Amid Falling Sales

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart reported revenue dropped 0.7 percent to $478.6 billion in fiscal year 2016, compared with the previous year, the first time sales declined since the retailer went public in 1970. Although the company has outperformed most of its brick-and-mortar rivals, its growth rate pales in comparison with those of leading online retailers, such as Amazon. Walmart spent over $11 billion to improve its online operations and remodel current stores, with company officials saying the retailer plans to take advantage of its vast network of stores in the long term.
Chase Purdy, "Walmart shows signs of growing pains as it vies to attract online shoppers", Quartz, April 01, 2016, © Quartz
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Online Operations Hurting Profits At Department Stores, Study Reveals

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Department stores’ efforts to expand their e-commerce operations are hurting their profit margins, according to Credit Suisse. Results of an analysis by the financial services company revealed around 14 percent of revenue at leading department stores that anchor shopping malls in the US came from e-commerce in 2015. Retailers Nordstrom and Macy’s derived 19 percent and 21 percent of their sales from e-commerce, respectively. Data from Kohl’s annual report, however, showed the retailer’s e-commerce operating margin was 9 percent, while its stores recorded 14 percent in 2015. E-commerce-related costs adversely affecting retailers’ bottom line include those related to free shipping, free returns, and the investments needed to build infrastructure, such as distribution facilities.
Phil Wahba, "Online Sales at Department Stores Soared in 2015, at a Huge Cost", Fortune, April 01, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Peapod Builds Up Muscle To Better Compete With Online Grocery Rivals

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Peapod Inc. is expanding its online grocery business using a combination of warehouse management software, scanners, robotics, and conveyor belts. Currently operating in 12 states and Washington, D.C., Peapod plans to expand into New York. Ahold, Peapod’s parent company, plans to merge with Delhaize Group, and the proposed union may help Peapod to expand to new markets in southern US. To enhance its ability to compete with Amazon.com Inc., Fresh Direct, and other online grocery companies in New York, Peapod constructed a 400,000sq. ft. fulfillment center.
Kim S. Nash, "Online Groceries Becomes Next E-Commerce Battleground", The Wall Street Journal, April 01, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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UK Smartphone Users Not Keen On Using Digital Wallet, Mintel Study Shows

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the UK, 12 percent of smartphone users have enrolled in a digital wallet service and only 7 percent actually use the service, according to Mintel. Data from the marketing research firm revealed 55 percent are not signed up and would not be interested in using the service. Also, 75 percent of smartphone owners said they have concerns about fraudulent transactions if their device was lost or stolen. More significantly, 57 percent of smartphone owners said they do not trust digital wallet service providers to store their financial data securely.
"Digital Wallets Short On Change: Just 7% Of Smartphone Owners Use The Service", Mintel, April 01, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Sun Products Laundry Care Brands Available From Amazon Dash Buttons, Company Says

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sun Products announced that its ‘all, Snuggle, and Wisk brands of laundry detergents are now available for purchase through Amazon’s Dash Buttons service. Designed to offer online shoppers with a simple and time-efficient way of buying online, Dash Buttons let Amazon Prime members purchase products and have them delivered to their homes with a single click. WiFi-connected, the Amazon Dash Button device can be placed anywhere the house.
"Shopping for Laundry Brand Favorites ‘all®, Snuggle® and Wisk® is Now Easier with Convenient, Single-Click Amazon Dash Buttons", Business Wire, March 31, 2016, © Business Wire
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Amazon Triples Dash Button Count To More Than 100

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon revealed there are now more than 100 Dash Buttons representing brands from personal and beauty care, household care, and food markets. First launched in 2015, the service allows members of Amazon’s Prime loyalty program to have prompt access to products considered as daily essentials. According to Amazon, Dash Buttons are available for Prime members for $4.99 each and with a $4.99 credit to their Amazon account for the first order, the service is virtually free.
"More Than 100 Amazon Dash Buttons Now Available, Giving Prime Members the Easiest Way to Order Thousands of Products", Amazon, March 31, 2016, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Tesco Launches PayQuiq Mobile Payment System In Stores Across London Region

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Tesco plans to launch its PayQuiq mobile payment system for stores across the London region. To be available at about 500 Tesco stores within the M25 area, the PayQuiq app will let shoppers pay for purchases worth up to £400 using their mobile phones. Tesco has sent invitations to 600,000 members of its loyalty program Clubcard to download and test the mobile app. Tesco’s PayQuiq is designed to compete with Apple Pay and Android Pay mobile payment systems.
"Tesco takes on Apple with own mobile payment system", Retail Analysis, March 31, 2016, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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India's E-Commerce Market Entices World's Leading Online Operators

March 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
India’s e-commerce segment is attracting the world’s leading online companies, including China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and US-based Amazon.com Inc., as well as local players Flipkart and Snapdeal. Currently valued at $25 billion, the local e-commerce market, which is considered as a virgin territory, is forecast to grow up to 40 percent each year. While India’s market is more open than China’s, there are factors that limit foreign operators’ ability to do business, including the limit on foreign ownership of retailers selling multiple brands and the variation in taxes on goods and services among the country’s regions.
Saritha Rai, "Amazon to Flipkart Clash in India's Nascent E-Commerce Market", Bloomberg Technology, March 28, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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China Revises Taxation Rules For Imported Goods Sold Online

March 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China is amending its tax rules for imported products sold online by removing a special tax, also known as parcel tax, previously imposed on such goods. Replacing the parcel tax will be value-added and consumption duties that are at present levied on most products sold in the country. According to China’s Ministry of Finance, however, the new tax will come with a 30-percent discount. In January 2016, China expanded a pilot program, which allowed a port district in the city of Hangzhou to trade imported goods at lower rates. Online sales of imported goods in China have expanded at a CAGR of 63 percent in the five-year period ending 2015 to reach 638 billion yuan, or $98 billion, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s total online retail sales, data from Mintel Group Ltd. revealed.
Daniela Wei, "China Changes Online Import Tax Rules, a Move to Help Cosmetics", Bloomberg Business, March 25, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Clorox Studies Merits Of Using Proximity Marketing Technology

March 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Clorox is considering the use of proximity marketing tools, such as in-store beacons and connected products for the home, according to the company’s associate director of marketing communications Sarah Ortman. Speaking at the South by Southwest 2016, Ortman said brands should adopt proximity marketing by starting from the point of view of customers. She said brands should focus on audience interests instead on technological capabilities to avoid alienating customers.
"Clorox explores proximity marketing", Warc, March 24, 2016, © Warc
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Sephora Employs Worldline Electronic Payments System For Sephora Flash Smart Stores

March 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sephora partnered with electronic payments and transactions company Worldline to launch its Sephora Flash smart beauty store. On October 21, 2015, Sephora opened its first Sephora Flash store in Paris, a retail concept that combines seamlessly brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping. Using an off-the-shelf near field communication, or NFC, card and a physical basket, customers can shop among 3,500 products on display at Sephora Flash stores. Also, customers using their handsets or tablets can browse Sephora’s online catalogue featuring 14,000 products.
"Sephora selects Worldline to launch “Sephora Flash”, a new connected store concept", Worldline , March 24, 2016, © Worldline
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Mobile Commerce Accounts For Bigger Part Of Ecommerce In China, Analysts Report

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mobile sales accounted for almost 50 percent of ecommerce sales in China in 2015, according to eMarketer. Data from Analysys International Enfodesk revealed mcommerce accounted for almost two-thirds of retail and consumer-to-consumer ecommerce sales in China in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 55.5 percent from the previous quarter. In 2016, eMarketer predicts retail mcommerce sales in the country will grow 51.4 percent, accounting for 55.5 percent of retail ecommerce sales in China for the year.
"Ecommerce Turns into Mcommerce in China", eMarketer, March 23, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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SecretSales.com Posts Strong Revenue Growth In 2015; Readies For Future Growth

March 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online discount seller SecretSales.com reported revenue grew 20 percent to £47 million in gross sales for 2015. Established in 2007 by brothers Nish and Sach Kukadia, the company partners with high street brands to sell out-of-season stock online without devaluing the brands. SecretSales convinces brands to sell their excess stock at discount rates ranging from 30 percent to 70 percent, and offering deals to it’s the website’s 4.5 million members. By establishing new partnerships with brands, such as Dyson and Bose, SecretSales was able to increase sales of gadgets by 177 percent in one year. Also, the company secured new investment in 2012 to expand membership.
Rebecca Burn-Callander, "The brothers behind SecretSales.com have a £3bn market in their sights", The Telegraph, March 22, 2016, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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FedEx Plans To Expand International E-Commerce Operations In Asia

March 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
FedEx Corp. said it will expand its international e-commerce business in order to compete for the growing volume of packages shipped to consumers from China and Japan. As part of this strategy, FedEx is rebranding Bongo International, a company that provides currency, customs, and shipping assistance to consumers buying goods from foreign retailers, as FedEx CrossBorder. According to CrossBorder vice president Chip Hull, the company plans to expand its services to sellers in China and Japan in June 2016. FedEx’s rivals, including United Parcel Service Inc. and Pitney Bowes Inc., are also expanding their global e-commerce operations.
Loretta Chao, "FedEx to Expand E-Commerce Reach in China, Japan", The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Marc Jacobs Fragrance Partners With Uber To Launch NYC Campaign

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Marc Jacobs Fragrance partnered with ride-sharing service Uber to launch the Daisy Daze campaign in New York City. As part of the campaign, riders will be able to request an Uber car covered with hundreds of daisies and equipped with a customized soundtrack, and a free full-size Daisy Marc Jacobs fragrance. Uber’s previous partnerships with fashion companies include its February 2016 deal with ecommerce site Lyst and with Rag & Bone’s fashion show in September 2015.
Maghan McDowell, "Uber Teams Up With Marc Jacobs", Women’s Wear Daily, March 18, 2016, © Fairchild Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC
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Online Grocery Business Does Not Have Long-Term Viability, Market Analysts Say

March 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online grocery as a business does not seem to have long-term viability, according to HSBC retail analyst David McCarthy. According to a note by McCarthy, big investments by grocery chains, such as Kroger, Whole Foods, and Walmart, in online grocery and home deliveries are a waste of their money. McCarthy said the fact that the online grocery market keeps growing at only half the growth rate of discount retailers, such as Aldi and Lidl, supports his assertion. Other market analysts are also questioning the viability of online grocery, as highlighted by a BMO Capital Markets report showing the vast majority of consumers do not like to shop for groceries online.
Kate Taylor, "Kroger and Whole Foods might be investing billions into a losing game", Business Insider, March 12, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Sephora Encourages Innovation In Mobile Beauty Market By Supporting Tech Startups

March 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sephora supports innovation in the beauty mobile market by backing several business startups focused on creating new roles for the smartphone in scheduling beauty appointments and attracting shoppers. As part of this initiative, Sephora launched the Sephora Accelerate, an incubation program for beauty startups. For the 2016 Sephora Accelerate Cohort, the company announced its lineup of women entrepreneurs who will participate in the business and innovation promotion program. Among the entrepreneurs are Candace Mitchell, Carolina Grove, and Danielle Cohen-Shohet.
Brielle Jaekel, "Sephora sparks mobile beauty growth by supporting startups", Luxury Daily , March 11, 2016, © Napean LLC
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Alibaba-Tencent Rivalry Now Reaches China's Energy Industry

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China’s largest Internet companies, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., expanded their rivalry to include the country’s oil and gas industries. Alibaba agreed to provide China National Petroleum Corp., the local oil and gas production giant, with Internet-based services. Alibaba’s deal came after Tencent signed in August 2014 a collaboration deal with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., which operates more than 30,000 fuel stations across the country, in areas including mobile payments and media marketing.
Aibing Guo et al, "Alibaba and Tencent Extend Their Web Battle to the Gas Station", Bloomberg Business, March 10, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Instacart Gains Firmer Foothold In Whole Foods’ World

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The 18-month, 17-city partnership between Whole Foods Market and the Instacart delivery service has been successful enough that the two companies are extending it. They will launch services in ”several” metropolitan areas this year, beginning with Orange County, Calif., and Baltimore, Md. The companies also expect to create new e-commerce and delivery solutions, while adding more stores that offer the Instacart delivery option. The extended relationship means Instacart is Whole Foods’ largest online ordering and delivery partner.
"Whole Foods Market and Instacart announce new markets, growth plans", Whole Foods Market, March 10, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Amazon Gets Own Air-Freight Arm

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon is leasing 20 Boeing 767 freighter planes, according to Air Transport Services Group. Part of Amazon’s efforts to gain more control of the delivery process, expand delivery capacities during peak season, and lower its freight costs, the deal comes with lease durations of 5–7 years for the planes. Also, the deal includes Amazon buying a 19.9 percent stake in ATSG.
Leena Rao, "Amazon Is Leasing 20 Boeing Planes to Create an Air Cargo Network", Fortune, March 09, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Carrefour's Website Grabs Best Honors Among Supermarkets In Spain

March 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour’s website www.carrefour.es was voted the best online store for the supermarkets and hypermarkets category in Spain. Based on input from consumers who voted for their favorite websites on www.webshopdelano.es, criteria for choosing the winners included value for money, promotions and special offers, product selection, and customer service. In 2015, Carrefour Spain’s website recorded 45.9 million page hits, with the online food store accounting for 9.7 million.
"The website carrefour.es voted "Web Shop of the Year" in Spain", Carrefour, March 08, 2016, © Carrefour
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Walmart's E-Commerce Investments Fail To Boost Online Retail Business

March 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retail giant Walmart’s e-commerce business is seeing slower growth. According to the company, its e-commerce business grew 8 percent in its latest quarter, down from 22 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, and 30 percent from two years ago. In contrast, rival Target expanded its e-commerce business 34 percent in its latest quarter. Also, Target has been able to post consistent growth in the last few years, with its e-commerce sales growing at least 20 percent on a quarterly basis for the past year. Walmart’s investments in its e-commerce business have so far failed to boost growth. For example, its Shipping Pass service, which offers unlimited three-day shipping for $50 a year, has failed to generate consumer interest. Walmart hopes to improve its e-commerce performance through its Walmart Pay mobile wallet service.
Kate Taylor, "Walmart is getting killed in the most important category", Business Insider, March 08, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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More Digital Buyers In India Buy From Digital Stores Daily, Study Reveals

March 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In India, 12 percent of digital buyers said they shop online or via digital channels on a daily basis in 2015, an increase of 33 percent compared with data from 2013, according to research from the Retailers Association of India and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Data also revealed 39 percent of respondents said they do digital shopping on a weekly basis, compared with 31 percent in 2013. Results of the survey revealed 16 percent of digital shoppers made in-store purchases daily, compared with 15 percent in 2013.
"How Often Do India's Digital Buyers Shop?", eMarketer, March 07, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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