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Wal-Mart Suffers Setback In Bid To Catch Up With Online Rival Amazon

February 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart’s global e-commerce sales grew 8 percent in the fourth quarter, which covered the months of November 2015 to January 2016. Despite the retailer’s efforts to ramp up online sales and narrow the gap with rival Amazon, growth was at its slowest during the quarter. To help boost online sales, Wal-Mart plans to expand its online offerings and increase the number of stores where online shoppers can pick up their orders.
Phil Wahba, "Walmart Loses Ground To Amazon in E-Commerce Battle", Fortune, February 18, 2016, © Time Inc.
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MNC Launches BrandOutlet Online Store In Indonesia

February 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Investment company MNC Group launched BrandOutlet, an online store for high-end beauty and fashion products in Indonesia. Highlighting the potential of Internet-based retail in the country, the online store comes with a product lineup that is 60 percent made up of local brands. Operating on a multi-channel basis across mobile and desktop, the store also comes with a dedicated blog.
Lucy Whitehouse, "Premium beauty and fashion e-commerce site launched in Indonesia", CosmeticDesign-Asia.com, February 18, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Digital-Enabled Beauty Shoppers Not Likely To Seek Help From Sales Associates, Study Reveals

February 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the United States, 16 percent of consumers shopping for beauty products prefer to buy at stores where sales associates will not bother them until assistance is sought, according to Mintel. Data from the market research firm revealed 45 percent of beauty shoppers like to search for product information in-store using their own mobile device rather than seek help from a sales associate. Also, 39 percent of respondents said they are interested in using, or have used, a store-provided tablet to look for available beauty products. Data also showed 58 percent of consumers are interested in mobile apps that feature product offers to redeem in-store.
"45% of US beauty consumers prefer mobile devices over sales associates for in-store assistance", Mintel, February 10, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Amazon's Physical-Store Plans Create Seismic Shocks For Brick-And-Mortar Retail Market

February 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Reports of Amazon’s plan to open 300 to 400 brick-and-mortar stores caused significant speculation on the online retailer’s future business strategies and their implications for the retail market. Discussion among market observers focused on how Amazon could use technology and data analytics to innovate in the physical-stores sector. Wharton management professor Daniel Raff said Amazon’s brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle offers some insights into the online retailer’s future plans. [Image credit © Wikimedia Commons]
"How Amazon Could Reinvent the Brick-and-mortar Store Experience", Wharton University of Pennsylvania, February 09, 2016, © Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
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Millennials Will Drive Consumption Trends In 2016, Webinar Reveals

February 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Millennial consumers are expected to have significant influence on consumption trends in 2016, according to the “Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2016” webinar. Consumers are likely to continue using social media to rant against greenwashing, or brands’ insincere displays of caring for the environment. Also, demand for recycled and pre-owned products is forecast to gain strength. For millennials, owning an automobile is no longer an “icon of freedom” but more of a “strain on their finances and the environment.”
Daphne Kasriel-Alexander , "Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2016: Webinar Q&As", Euromonitor International, February 08, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Wal-Mart Shutters Express Concept; Finds Urban Expansion Dream Elusive

February 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart’s move to close its Wal-Mart Express stores highlights the retailer’s preference to operate large-format stores. In 2011, Wal-Mart designed its Express stores as a means to launch its business in urban centers. Wal-Mart’s efforts to open locations in major cities, such as New York and Washington, D.C., have faced opposition.
Sharon Edelson , "Bigger Is Still Better at Wal-Mart", Women’s Wear Daily, February 04, 2016, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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Younger Consumers Prefer Mobile Shopping, Study Reveals

February 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Generation Z consumers are four times more likely to use their mobile phones to buy online, compared with Baby Boomers, according to the “GfK FutureBuy 2015” report. Results of the study revealed women are more likely to use mobile devices at 32 percent share of shopping, compared with men at 22 percent share. Data also revealed younger generations tend to use mobile devices when making online purchases, compared with consumers from the older age groups. Also, consumers’ previous experience and in-store environment are the most important factors influencing online buying behavior.
"GfK FutureBuy 2015 Select US Market Findings Highlights", GfK FutureBuy, February 04, 2016, © GfK
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Amazon Reports Strong Sales And Revenue Growths In 4Q And Full-Year 2015

January 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com, Inc., said operating cash flow jumped 74 percent to $11.9 billion for the year ending December 31, 2015, compared with the previous year. Free cash flow increased to $7.3 billion, compared with $1.9 billion for the year ending December 31, 2014. For the quarter ending December 31, 2015, net sales rose 22 percent to $35.7 billion, compared with $29.3 billion in the same quarter of 2014. Net sales grew 26 percent, excluding the $1.2 billion unfavorable impact of year-over-year charges in foreign exchange rates during the quarter. Net income was $482 million, or $1 per diluted share, compared with net income of $214 million, or $0.45 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2014.
"Amazon.com Announces Fourth Quarter Sales up 22% to $35.7 Billion", Amazon, January 28, 2016, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Brazil's Online Retail Market Forecast To Reach $40.8 Billion By 2019, Market Analysts Say

January 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online sales in Brazil are forecast to rise from $17.8 billion in 2014 to $40.8 billion by 2019, according to data presented by Costs Advogados partner Marcio Cots at a panel presentation hosted by the Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce in New York City. According to AD. Dialeto founding partner Leonardo Cid Ferreira, Brazilian consumers use online resources and social media to gather information, buy, and keep up with fashion and beauty trends. Consumers use e-commerce for “easy replenishment,” lower prices, and convenience of delivery.
Deanna Utroske, "Brazil’s recession is an e-commerce opportunity for personal care brands", CosmeticsDesign.com | USA, January 26, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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China's E-Commerce Market Grows 37 Percent In 2015, Study Reveals

January 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China’s e-commerce market grew 37 percent in terms of gross merchandise value in 2015 to 3.8 trillion yuan, or $578 billion, according to iResearch. Data from the market research firm’s “2015 China E-commerce & O2O Summary Report” revealed mobile and online-to-offline markets drove the market’s overall growth. O2O gross merchandising volume rose 38 percent year-on-year in 2015, with sales reaching 335 billion yuan, or $51 billion. According to iResearch, the country’s O2O sector is forecast to grow to almost double its size in the next three years to 626 billion yuan, or $95 billion.
Casey Hall, "Chinese E-commerce Growth Continues", Women’s Wear Daily, January 25, 2016, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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Wal-Mart, Amazon Plan To Invest Over Rs 2,000 Crore In India

January 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and online retailer Amazon plan to invest more than Rs 2,000 crore to build their respective networks and expand their shares of India’s retail market. Expected to reach over $1 trillion in size in 2020, India’s retail sector will see Amazon investing Rs 1,696 crore in its Amazon Seller Services business. This raises Amazon’s total investment in the business to about Rs 4,800 crore. Wal-Mart Stores will invest Rs 360 crore to expand its lineup of wholesale stores in the country.
Sagar Malviya, "Retail giants Amazon, Walmart to invest more than Rs 2,000 crore in India", Economic Times, January 23, 2016, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Store Closures Show Walmart's Tough Enough To Make Hard Decisions

January 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart’s decision to close 269 stores worldwide, 154 in the United States, highlights changes in both how the company operates and in the retail market. Walmart’s move is based on a “clear-eyed, uncompromising, even unsentimental decision-making,” highlighting the company’s newly found discipline under its CEO Doug McMillon. These store closings, however, could also be a sign that Walmart moved too late even though it has all the needed resources to adapt to changes in the market. Walmart has failed to innovate. For example, it has all the data on consumer buying habits, but failed to create an easy, automated shopping process using such information.
Charles Fishman, "This Is What It Looks Like When Walmart Tries To Get Its Mojo Back", Fast Company, January 21, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures LLC
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Aldi’s First Online Store In U.K. Sells Wine In Cases

January 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
German discount grocer Aldi has opened an online store in the U.K. selling, for now at least, only wine in cases. The company offers 90 wines on its website with home delivery available except in Northern Ireland for the time being. Customers who buy at least ₤50 ($71.00) worth earn free shipping. The company said it would add non-food products to the website, including cycling gear, power tools and Halloween outfits, somewhere beginning in the second quarter of this year.
"Aldi opens its first online store in the UK", Ecommerce News, January 20, 2016, © Zietuwel
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New MasterCard Groceries App Will Work With Samsung’s IoT Refrigerator

January 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
MyWebGrocer, a provider of e-commerce and digital marketing solutions to the grocery industry, says it is working with MasterCard to introduce grocers to a new shopping app, dubbed Groceries by MasterCard. Consumers can use the app to buy groceries via the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator, an implementation of “Internet of Things” (IoT) technologies. The Groceries app will help consumers build, share, manage and modify shopping lists, place orders and make payments through a seamless, collaborative interface. The refrigerator was introduced at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show and will be available for purchase in the U.S. in May of 2016.
"MyWebGrocer Partners with MasterCard to Connect Consumers and Grocers via Smart Fridge", News release, MyWebGrocer, January 20, 2016, © MyWebGrocer
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Mix Of Paper Versus Mobile Retail Coupons Shifts

January 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Kantar Media’s report on the use of freestanding advertising inserts (FSI) by the top ten U.S. retailers – who account for 81 percent of such advertising – finds Walmart remains the heaviest user, even though it has trimmed pages by a third. In second place was Target, which cut its FSI pages by 25 percent, while Walgreens was third, with a 38.4 percent decrease. The declines in paper couponing may be due to increased use of mobile coupons. Nearly 45 percent of U.S. companies will use mobile coupons this year. Meanwhile, Dollar General and CVS increased their FSI pages.
"Down by a Third, Wal-Mart Still Distributes Most Freestanding Inserts", eMarketer, January 19, 2016, © eMarketer Inc
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WeChat Launches Service Allowing Consumers To Share Coupons In China

January 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mobile and web messaging company WeChat launched its shared coupons service for retailers in China. Designed to let users of the messaging service share coupons for dining, shopping, or entertaining, the service also lets consumers receive coupons at offline stores. Shared coupons will be classified based on location to let users gain access to wide range choices. Participating retailers can distribute shared coupons with consumers offline and can monitor consumers’ usage of the coupons.
"WeChat Offering “Friends-Shared Coupons” for Retailers", China Internet Watch, January 17, 2016, © Incitez Pte. Ltd.
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Walmart Eyes Partnerships With Local E-Commerce Firms In India

January 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is reportedly planning to partner with India’s leading e-commerce companies, including Flipkart, Snapdeal, and ShopClues. Seen as part of the U.S. retailer’s efforts to take advantage of the growing online retail market in the country, Walmart’s e-commerce move follows its failed attempt at launching its local consumer retail business. India allows 100 percent foreign direct investment in cash-and-carry or wholesale businesses; however, FDI is limited at 51 percent in multi-brand retail.
Nivedita Mookerji & Dilasha Seth , "Walmart plans tie-ups with online retailers", Business Standard, January 14, 2016, © Business Standard Private Ltd.
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Sephora Launches Online Store In Malaysia

January 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora announced the launch of its online store in Malaysia on February 1, 2016. Aimed at Malaysian consumers who have gotten accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, the online store will offer hundreds of beauty brands and products, including makeup, bath and body, and nail care.
Andrea Tim , "Sephora is going to end your shopping abstinence with its Malaysian online store", Elle, January 14, 2016, © MONGOOSE PUBLISHING
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Euromonitor Presents Forecasts For Markets And Consumers In 2016

January 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In 2016, the migrant crisis is forecast to continue, while the working-age population in China is expected to decline for the first time, according to Euromonitor. Other forecasts for the year made by the market research firm include an increase in integration of loyalty programs with mobile wallets and the continued expansion of S-commerce, driven by social media platforms’ integration of buy-now buttons into their sites. Also, Euromonitor predicts an increase in calls for more time away from digital devices and increase in consumer demand for healthy food, with fastfood chains offering greener, healthier, and more local food products.
Carrie Lennard, "Economies and Consumers Expert Predictions for 2016", Euromonitor International, January 14, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Amazon Finds Need To Rethink Marketing Deal With India's Future Group

January 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon’s exclusive online marketing deal with India-based fashion and retail conglomerate Future Group is facing some significant challenges. According to sources, disagreements between the business partners focus on funding of discounts on Future Group’s fashion brands sold on Amazon. Amazon reportedly asked Future Group to shoulder part of the discounts offered to online shoppers or end the exclusive deal with the online retailer and list its products the way any other vendors would.
Rasul Bailay & Chaitali Chakravarty, "Amazon and Future Group partnership on rocks over funding of discounts", Economic Times, January 13, 2016, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Mobile Shopping For 2015 Holiday Season Jumps 59 Percent

January 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mobile shopping grew 59 percent to $12.7 billion during the holiday shopping season in the United States, according to Comscore Inc. Consumers using their smartphones and tablet computers spent significantly more than the $11.7 billion forecast by the market research firm. Discount deals and shipping options offered by online retailers made the growth possible, according to Comscore data. Mobile commerce accounted for 18 percent of total digital retail revenue during the holiday season, up from 13 percent in 2014.
Yashaswini Swamynathan, "Mobile shopping soars during holiday season : Comscore data", Reuters, January 08, 2016, © Thomson Reuters
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Women Outnumber Men In Mobile Shopping, Study Reveals

January 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Women account for 53.4 percent of mobile shoppers in the United States, with men making up 46.6 percent, according to Y&R. Data from the advertising firm revealed consumers between the ages 18 and 29 accounted for 31.7 percent of shoppers who prefer to use their mobile devices when doing research and purchasing products. Those who are in their 30 to 44 years made up 36.3 percent.
"For Many Shoppers, Mobile Is Essential When Researching and Purchasing Products", eMarketer, January 07, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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Sephora Looks At Amazon And Prestige Beauty Market For Growth Ideas

January 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer Sephora Americas president and CEO Calvin McDonald said his company aims to further grow its business by integrating lessons it has learned from online retailer Amazon and the prestige beauty market. Stating that Sephora’s success depends on balancing exclusive, limited, and broad brands, McDonald said Amazon’s success as a mass merchant poses a threat to the beauty retail market. Sephora’s Beauty Tip Workshop strategy, which combines brick-and-mortar, mobile, and digital channels aims to help the company compete with the online retail giant.
Jeb Gleason-Allured, "How Amazon and Prestige Beauty Are Reshaping Sephora", GCI Magazine, January 07, 2016, © Allured Business Media
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Southeast Asia's Online Retail Market Expected To Explode, Analysts Say

January 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Southeast Asia, with a population of 600 million people, is expected to see a boom in its e-commerce market. Beauty brands are expected to benefit from such a market trend if they are willing to create online retail operations in the region. For example, Unilever Thailand, established its e-commerce division with revenue targets for 2016. Brands without online presence are predicted to create online retail operations in 2016, according to tech media firm techcrunch.com.
"Southeast Asia's on the cusp of an 'e-commerce golden age'", Cosmetics Design, January 06, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Sephora Comes To New Zealand

January 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Cosmetics retailer Sephora plans to launch its business in New Zealand. By acquiring the beauty website Luxola New Zealand, and transforming it to Sephora NZ, the company will be able to ship products to their local consumers. While Sephora’s acquisition of the website means consumers can now access other brands, such as Kat Von D, Marc Jacobs, and BECCA, the online store will now stop selling Maybelline and L’Oreal Paris products.
"Sephora is coming to New Zealand", nzherald.co.nz, January 06, 2016, © NZME. Publishing Limited
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Key Data Technology And Mergers Put Kroger Ahead Of Competition in Online Sales

January 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks in part to its 2014 mergers with Harris Teeter and Vitacost.com, supermarket chain Kroger gained valuable insights into click-and-pick-up and home delivery technologies, and is best positioned to succeed in online grocery sales. Morgan Stanley research found that Kroger is likely to beat out Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods. A key factor is the company’s ability to gather and analyze customer data through its 84.51 division. The merger with Harris Teeter, however, gave Kroger access to technology that allows customers to order online and pick up their purchases at stores. The merger with Vitacost provided the technology and insights into home delivery that accelerated Kroger’s ecommerce growth by two to three years.
Kate Taylor, "Kroger is going to become Amazon and Walmart's biggest threat", Business Insider, January 05, 2016, © Allure Media
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Brands Use Image-Based Online Networks To Engage Customers

January 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Three online image-based networks targeting distinctly different audiences are working well as informal ad media for brand marketers because they engage customers, drive sales and enhance product awareness. Among the brands that have used Snapchat, Pinterest or Instagram into their content marketing strategies are Taco Bell, Sephora, and Ben & Jerry’s. Taco Bell uses Snapchat to create engaging, energetic, and entertaining stories that announce contests or new menu items, and capture moments from sponsored events. Sephora knows that Pinterest users to be inspired and entertained by its sales promotions, makeup tutorials, and new products. A Ben & Jerry’s brand imagery campaign on Instagram reached 10 million users who had a 33-point increase in ad recall. It also boosted awareness of a new ice cream flavor by 17 percent.
Jasmine Sandler, "Brands drive engagement in Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram", ClickZ, January 05, 2016, © ClickZ
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Walmart Adopts MasterCard's MasterPass Digital Payments Service

January 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart plans to allow U.S. consumers to use MasterCard’s MasterPass digital payments platform when paying for their online and mobile purchases across the country in 2016. MasterCard describes the payments system as a “simple, convenient, trusted digital platform” that offers shoppers a quick and safe way of paying for their online purchases. Shoppers across the country can set up a MasterPass account by visiting the service’s website or by signing up with a participating bank.
"Walmart Adds MasterPass™ by MasterCard to Online and Mobile Checkout", Business Wire, January 04, 2016, © Business Wire
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Carrefour Completes Purchase Of E-Commerce Firm Rue Du Commerce

January 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour revealed it has acquired 100 percent of the share capital of Rue du Commerce from Altarea Cogedim. Part of the retailer’s implementation of its omni-channel strategy in France, the deal is expected to benefit in-store and online shoppers. Rue du Commerce is a leading non-food e-commerce operator in the country, with almost 5 million unique visitors per month.
"Carrefour completes the acquisition of Rue du Commerce", Carrefour, January 04, 2016, © Carrefour
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Innovation Is The Watchword For Today’s Supermarkets

January 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The key word for supermarkets these days is innovation, and many changes are in store, as it were, as we head into the New Year. Chief among them is the supermarket “experience” for shoppers: the creation of little events such as wine tasting, meat or veggie grilling, cooking classes, and food festivals. Special sections in some supermarkets will be devoted to brands, e.g., the Starbucks Signature Aisle, where sales have been shown to triple where installed.  And lastly, look for more drive-up or drive-thru offerings, where customers order groceries on their PC or smartphone, then pick them up at the curb, or perhaps in a drive-through aisle.
Geoff Williams, "Meet the Supermarket of the Future", U.S. News & World Report, January 01, 2016, © U.S. News & World Report LP
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India's E-Commerce Market To Hit $38 Billion In 2016, Study Forecasts

January 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
India’s e-commerce market is forecast to grow 67 percent to $38 billion in 2016, compared with $23 billion in 2015, according to industry group Assocham. Growth is expected to be driven by the increase in number of Internet and mobile users. In 2015, online purchases grew significantly due to online retailers’ aggressive discounts, with higher fuel prices and wider choices pushing further growth in 2016.
Besta Shankar, "India's e-commerce sector likely to grow by 67% to Rs 2.51 lakh crore in 2016: Assocham", International Business Times, January 01, 2016, © International Business Times, India Edition
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As Mobile Payments Soar, So Does Competition Among Retailers, Banks, Tech Giants

December 31, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The ability to pay for purchases via  smartphone is becoming more widespread, as payment solution competition among banks, retailers and smartphone technology pioneers heats up. Market watchers predict that check-out transactions using smartphones will hit $210 billion within three years, up from $9 billion last year. That’s big business, and a lot of companies want a piece of the pie. There’s another incentive: retailers hate paying credit and debit card fees, and banks hate paying fees for Apple Pay transactions. So the biggest retailers and banks are all expected to have mobile-payment solutions to compete with Apple Pay, Google’s Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. These include JPMorgan Chase (Chase Pay), Walmart Pay, MCX’s CurrentC, and PayPal.
Olga Kharif, "Disrupt Mobile Payments Business in 2016", Bloomberg, December 31, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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ShopAdvisor Service Helps Consumers Buy Products They Actually Want

December 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Retailers are aware that online shopping and smartphone technology are here to stay. They are also acutely aware of the continued importance of the brick-and-mortar store: 92 percent of purchases are made there. Connecting the two phenomena is ShopAdvisor, an online service where consumers can download apps that take advantage of location-based beacon technology alerting them to store promotions while their out shopping. Beacon technology has been around for a while, but ShopAdvisor offers a helpful twist. Using data analytics, the service allows retailers to alert consumers who have downloaded a particular product’s app. The alert announces discounts, sales, and reviews that might spark an immediate purchase of a product that a consumer actually wants.
Glenn Rifkin, "ShopAdvisor Lets Retailers Target Shoppers by Location and Interests", The New York Times, December 30, 2015, © The New York Times Company
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Amazon UK Plans Expansion Of Pantry Food Business In 2016

December 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon plans to expand its Pantry food department in the UK in 2016. Launched in November 2015, the service offers more than 4,000 branded food and drink products, including health and beauty products. Part of Amazon’s expansion plans include adding thousands more items to its current lineup. Customers can have their purchases delivered for £2.99 using the company’s Pantry box service, according to Amazon UK chief Christopher North.
Clare Hutchison, "Amazon takes aim at supermarkets with plans to expand food department", Independent, December 30, 2015, © Independent Digital News and Media Limited
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Grocery Shopping Trends To Watch For In 2016

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Grocery shoppers in 2016 will see ever more digitizing of their stores and more opportunities to buy online, a trend that will “surge.” Online shopping will be paired with online delivery services that will also offer personal shoppers who visit several stores to fill grocery orders. More stores will add Bluetooth-enabled beacon technology that pushes digital info (ads, coupons, product details, etc.) to smartphone shoppers equipped with special apps. Look for more stores equipped with electronic shelf labels (ESLs) that display prices, ads and even nutritional information. Expect more small-format stores in urban areas – think Aldi and Trader Joe’s – catering to singles and small families. Larger supermarkets, meanwhile, will be offering more product sampling, cooking demos, nutritional tours, and even in-store dining.
John Karolefski, "Top trends in grocery shopping for 2016", Grocery Stories, December 29, 2015, © Primary Communications
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Amazon Expands Grocery Delivery Service In U.K.

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon has Britain’s Big Four supermarket chains in its sights as it expands the new Pantry delivery service for household goods and groceries. The company, which launched Pantry in November with an inventory of 4,000 brands of food and drink, pet and baby supplies, and health and beauty products, will expand to include new product lines. The products are ordered using a box system and delivered for a flat fee in the U.K. of about £4.41 ($5.99 in the U.S.) for the first 44 pounds order and 99p ($1.50) for each subsequent box. Fresh food is not yet available through pantry in the U.K.
Mehreen Khan, "Amazon to expand grocery delivery service", The Telegraph, December 29, 2015, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Ocado Shares Tumbles After Amazon's Grocery Expansion Plans In UK

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Shares of stock of online grocery distributor Ocado declined following online retailer Amazon’s announcement of its plan to expand its Pantry grocery delivery service in the UK. Launched in November 2015, Pantry offers customers about 4,000 grocery and household products. Amazon UK chief executive Christopher North said his company plans to add thousands more to its product lineup.
"Ocado slides on concerns over Amazon expansion", ShareCast, December 29, 2015, © Digital Look Ltd
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Walgreens Online Store Fastest E-Commerce Site, Catchpoint Systems Survey Reveals

December 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s online store provided customers with the fastest shopping experience in the United States, according to a survey by website monitoring firm Catchpoint Systems. Covering the period November 25 through December 26, 2015, the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide survey focused on 23 locations across the country. Results of the study, which measured the load time and availability of online stores on both mobile and desktop, revealed Gap’s store recorded the fastest-loading time for mobile shoppers. Apple Inc.’s store followed Walgreens at second place, with Staples taking the third spot.
Sandra Guy, "Walgreens wins as the fastest e-commerce site during the holiday season", Internet Retailer, December 28, 2015, © Vertical Web Media
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Luxury Brands Fail To Offer High-End Online Shopping Experience, Study Reveals

December 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Luxury beauty brands need to improve their online consumer experience in order to avoid losing customers, according to market research firm ContactLab. Data from the report “Online Purchase Experience Ranking” revealed consumers have “best of online shopping experience” only 50 percent of the time. While some brands extended their “luxury experience” to delivery service and packaging standards, others failed to do so. Results also showed that consumers tended to have better shopping experience when buying from online retailers than when buying from brand owners’ own online stores.
"Luxury brands urged to improve online service", Cosmetics Business, December 27, 2015, © HPCi Media Limited
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Kroger Updates Mobile App; Adds New Features For More Convenient Shopping Experience

December 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger updated its mobile app by adding new features designed to make grocery shopping more convenient and smarter. First launched in 2010, the app has been downloaded on more than 10 million mobile devices and issued more than 2.5 billion digital coupons, the retailer said. Also, the app allows users to scan empty packages at home to add products into their shopping lists. It also informs users of the retailer’s weekly sales and promotion offers, based on their shopping history from their loyalty cards.
Alexander Coolidge, "Kroger's app now sorts grocery list by aisle", Cincinnati, December 23, 2015, © www.cincinnati.com
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Target Begins Developing Own Mobile Payment System

December 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Target Corp. is reportedly developing its own mobile wallet technology. Designed to let shoppers pay for goods using an app on their mobile phones, the planned platform will allow the retailer to compete with rival mobile payment systems, such as the Apple Pay. Target decided to partner with credit card companies and plans to adopt scanning technology to communicate with payment terminals to process transactions.
Nandita Bose, "Exclusive: Target in initial development of own mobile wallet – sources", Reuters, December 22, 2015, © Thomson Reuters
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Carrefour Launches E-Commerce Business In Poland

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour launched its online business in Poland on December 18, 2015. Designed to complement the company’s existing retail formats, the website will offer about 800 non-food products, including mobile phones, TVs, and laptops. With delivery service costing €2.32, the site offers click-and-collect services only in Krakow.
"Carrefour launches online in Poland", Retail Analysis, December 18, 2015, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution
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Online Retailers Have Three Options In Reducing Basket Abandonment Rates, Analysts Say

December 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailers can adopt three strategies in order to deal with basket abandonment, or shoppers leaving before completing their online transactions. First, online retailers need to be clear and transparent about their delivery service, especially about delivery times and costs. Also, online retailers can encourage shoppers to complete their purchases by offering more delivery options. Finally, offering free delivery can be an effective means of building long-term customer loyalty. Basket abandonment rates can be as high as 80 percent, with the average rate estimated at 67.91 percent, according to market research firm Baymard Institute.
Andy Hill, "Three Quick Wins for Reducing Basket Abandonments", Digital Marketing Magazine, December 14, 2015, © Digital Marketing Magazine
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Amazon.in Outshines Other E-commerce Sites In India In October 2015

December 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.in became the most popular online store in India in October 2015, about two and a half years after its launch in the country, according to comScore. Data from the market research firm revealed Amazon’s Indian unit had more than 30 million visitors, an increase of almost 38 percent from the previous month. Also, downloads of the online retailer’s Amazon.in app increased 200 percent year-on-year in October 2015, according to app analytics firm App Annie.
"Customers Make Amazon.in Tops in India", Amazon, December 14, 2015, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Walmart Follows Amazon's Lead In Adjusting Online Prices, 360pi Says

December 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has been adjusting its “everyday low prices” strategy to follow online retailer Amazon’s dynamic approach to pricing, an analysis of data from e-commerce market research firm 360pi revealed. Citing figures it collected and analyzed for 2015 Black Friday, 360pi said about 16 percent of Amazon’s prices varied during the shopping event, while around 12 percent of Walmart’s online prices also moved on the same day. In contrast, only about 5 percent of Target’s prices fluctuated during the same period and for most of the month.
Kate Kaye, "Walmart's Everyday Low Prices Face Amazon's Dynamic Price Push", Advertising Age, December 10, 2015, © Crain Communications
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Walmart Adds Payment Solution To Its Mobile App

December 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has become the only retailer to offer its own smartphone payment solution. The company introduced Walmart Pay, a mobile solution that works with an iOS or Android device, and can be used at any checkout lane, with any major credit card card, debit card, prepaid card or Walmart gift card. To use the app, customers at checkout open the app, select Walmart Pay, activate the phone’s camera, scan the register code, then wait for the clerk to scan the items. An eReceipt is automatically sent. The solution will only be available in a few stores in Arkansas this month, but will be launched nationally in the first half of 2016. The Walmart app is already used by 22,000,000 customers each month.
"Walmart Introduces Walmart Pay", New release, Walmart, December 10, 2015, © Walmart
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Millennials In Developed Markets Display Consumption Behaviors Different From Those Of Their Emerging-Market Counterparts

December 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Millennials in developed countries prefer to rent products, while millennials in developing countries prefer to have actual ownership of goods, according to Euromonitor. According to the market research firm, the global economic downturn of 2008–2009 and its impact on millennial consumers’ attitude in developed markets have helped the sharing economy take roots and grow. Unlike their Western counterparts, millennials in emerging markets aspire to own status-enhancing products, such as high-end electronics. According to McKinsey and Co., this will see the 15 fastest-growing emerging markets accounting for 90 percent of the growth in consumption of luxury fashion goods in the next 10 years.
Pavel Marceux, "How Digitalised Millennials Differ in Developed and Emerging Markets", Euromonitor International, December 09, 2015, © Euromonitor
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Hershey’s Kisses To Carry First Scannable SmartLabel

December 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Holiday packages of Hershey’s Kisses will carry the SmartLabel QR code (tagged “Scan to Learn What’s Inside”), the first product that attempts to fulfill the American consumer’s desire for more transparency in food and beverage ingredients. The SmartLabel, sponsored by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, allows consumers with smartphones to scan a QR code on product packaging to access a webpage or speak to a company’s customer-service hotline. Ingredient information is available for nearly 30,000 participating products, from laundry detergents to cat food. Besides required basic nutritional information, the label discloses allergens, third-party certifications, GMOs, and extent of compliance with responsible sourcing, “fair trade” or “dolphin safe.”
Dale Buss, "Hershey Pioneers SmartLabel QR Codes to Promote Transparency", Brand Channel, December 04, 2015, © Interbrand
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Bake Box Kits Now Available In U.K.

December 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A new subscription-box service targets would-be British bakers, delivering colorful recipe cards and bakeware every two months. Each box contains all the hardware and ingredients needed to bake and decorate six special-theme recipes for cakes and desserts. Included are two "hero" recipes, a cake recipe, a dessert recipe and simpler recipes designed to make with children. A Bake Box subscription costs about $23.00 a month; each box contains equipment worth at least $60.
"Bake Box – the new subscription box for bakers", The Food & Drink Innovation Network, December 04, 2015, © Food & Drink Innovation Network
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Cyber Monday 2015 Online Shopping Breaches $3 Billion

December 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Total consumer spending on Cyber Monday 2015 online shopping grew 21 percent to $3.1 billion, compared with the $2.5 billion spent by online shoppers in 2014, according to comScore. Data from the market research firm revealed total digital spending breached the $3 billion mark for the first time. Mobile commerce accounted for about 27 percent of the total, with consumers spending $838 million on online purchases made through their smartphones and tablets. Also, the weekend after Thanksgiving produced $1 billion in online shopping on a Sunday, also a first.
Tim Denman, "Cyber Monday Spending Tops $3 Billion for First Time Ever", Retail Info System News, December 03, 2015, © Edgell Communications
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