e-Commerce Revenue Results Show Potential For 2011 Holiday Season

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As retailers continue to develop their strategies for the 2011 holiday shopping season, new studies cite a consistent growth in e-Commerce, which may convert to a significant increase in holiday purchase behavior in the channel. A research overview provided by eMarketer revealed this and other 2010 and 2011 online shopping insights, as well as statistics and top buying strategies for shoppers this holiday season.

Results from the U.S. Department of Commerce research study titled Quarterly Retail e-Commerce Sales: 2nd Quarter 2011, highlighted a 17.6% increase in online purchases versus Q2 2010. Results indicated that e-Commerce accumulated $47.5 billion of the retail industry’s total sales, the highest performing Q2 to date. “The findings released in August by the DOC show that retail ecommerce sales are on track,” the eMarketer report said. “And, importantly for online retailers, e-Commerce’s share of total retail sales, while still small, is steadily increasing.”

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Business Analytics In Retail For Dummies

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wp_drc_cap_ibm_dummiesRetailers who make the effort to learn about their customers’ preferences and apply that knowledge have an advantage over competitors who have not paid attention to the footprints customers leave behind, according to Business Analytics In Retail For Dummies, an IBM limited edition E-book. By analyzing how consumers browse company web sites, question staff members and purchase items, retailers are able to better understand each customer.

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Activate And Engage: How Adding SMS To Cross-Channel Communication Can Optimize Retailer-Customer Relationships

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wp_drc_cap_bronto_smsThe number of text messages sent has exploded from an estimated 1.8 trillion in 2007 to a staggering 6.1 trillion in 2010. The mobile commerce industry is expected to reach $6 billion by the end of 2011, and $31 billion by 2016, according to Forrester Research.

In order to connect and engage with increasingly mobile shoppers, many leading retailers are implementing a Short Message Service (SMS) strategy. With an opt-in text message campaign, retailers are finding a new channel to provide shoppers with news, sale alerts and recommended items based on past purchases.

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Pacific Sunwear Rolls Out iPad App To Optimize Customer Experience And Upselling

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pacsunTapping into the growing popularity of tablet technology, Pacific Sunwear (PacSun) recently deployed an Apple iPad-based Retailing solution to 300 stores nationwide.

Since its 1980 inception as a small surf shop in Newport Beach, CA, PacSun now operates more than 800 stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The specialty retailer rooted in the action sports, fashion and music influences of the California lifestyle, is currently headquartered in Anaheim, CA.

Leveraging the iPad Retailing App from Global Bay Mobile Technologies, PacSun is among the first to integrate the iPad into the retail environment to enhance the in-store customer experience, capture potential lost sales and create upsell opportunities. PacSun will deploy to an additional 100 stores during 2011.

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Winn-Dixie Implements 6,000 IBM POS Units To Improve Customer Service, Speed Checkout

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WinnDixieSoutheastern grocer Winn-Dixie is replacing its outdated IBM POS solution with 6,000 new SurePOS 700 systems in 484 stores. The retailer is planning to begin the implementation in a number of pilot stores during the fall of 2011, then roll out the remainder of units following the holiday 2011 season, according to John Gaydac, Worldwide Vice President, Store Solutions for IBM. The SurePOS 700 systems are powered by IBM SurePOS Application Client/Server Environment (ACE) and Retail Integration Framework (RIF) software — part of the IBM Smarter Checkout solution.

“This whole POS platform will allow Winn-Dixie to add capabilities as demand requires, whether it’s around loyalty, insights into consumer preferences, digital couponing, promotions, or integration of mobility,” said Gaydac.

“This initiative will allow us to introduce services quickly and seamlessly to improve our guests’ shopping experience and will help to support our overall strategy,” added Maura Hart, Winn-Dixie Group Vice President and CIO, in a press statement. “We believe the functionality, reliability and open standards offered by IBM hardware and software will accelerate our innovation, which will enhance our competitiveness, as well as our ability to deliver quality service in our stores.”

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Put the ‘Act’ in Transact

Transactional emails are an untapped revenue opportunity for many retail organizations. In a recent MarketingSherpa survey, 75% of respondents said they opened and read transactional messages “frequently” or “very often/always.” To take advantage of the benefits of transactional messaging, retailers should create a go-forward strategy that includes the company’s key business goals. Transactional emails that work include features such as product recommendations, header link navigation and customized content.

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HP Discontinues webOS Devices, Causes Industry Speculation

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hp_touchpad_11In conjunction with a number of other announcements on August 18, 2011, HP has reported that it is shutting down operations for its webOS devices, including the TouchPad and webOS phones. With the webOS announcement, HP reported that it is now in the process of “exploring strategic alternatives” for webOS software and its Personal Systems Group (PSG). In the same release, HP delivered Q3 earnings results.

This group announcement has spurred curiosity and speculation within the business community. “It is really unfortunate that HP tried to do everything in a single announcement” said Greg Buzek, President of IHL Group. “Quite frankly, I was stunned.”

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Stepping Up Customer Loyalty In A Mobile, Social World

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Part 1 of the Retail TouchPoints Customer Loyalty Report

customers_shopping_capAs shoppers devote more time to social media and mobile for interaction, shopping and information search, retailers must adopt new and innovative loyalty tactics that align with these new behaviors, but continue to garner the perks of traditional loyalty programs.

Punch cards, frequent buyer memberships, online points and email newsletters have allowed customers to stay in contact with their favorite brands online and in-store. Now, these loyalty programs can be promoted and maintained through mobile applications and social media. New programs also can be deployed via text message, geo-location app and social gaming. These tactics in particular have contributed to the fast-paced growth of mobile marketing, according to Nikki Baird, Managing Partner, Retail Systems Research (RSR).

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The Remote App: Maintaining Brand Relevance in the “SplinterNet” Age

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Mesberg.JPG_medThe fact that more CEOs are looking for new ways to get closer to their customers is hardly breaking news. The challenge in today’s environment is that the proliferation of new digital mediums, interaction models and touch points has fragmented the customer journey. These customer interaction touch points make it more difficult to connect with perspective customers — who may not start their journey through a search engine or your website.

In fact, today customers are more apt to seek their friends’ opinions on social networks or read product reviews on trusted sites before in order to validate their purchases. Product discovery also happens in new ways as customers shop on an affiliate’s website, read blogs and community threads, or ask their social network contacts for opinions. As a result, they form their impressions before they are exposed to a brand’s well-defined marketing campaign. This new playing field presents challenges for retailers, which if not handled properly could leave them completely disconnected from their customers. The good news is that new Smarter Commerce approaches are taking shape and best of all, they delivering tremendous benefits.

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ChoiceStream Leverages Online Shopper Behavior To Target Qualified Prospective Customers

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Concept:

choicestream_capDeveloped during 2010, ChoiceStream’s CRUNCH solution is a custom audience targeting platform designed to help online advertisers target new prospects in a more effective, efficient manner using display ad units. 

CRUNCH captures the online intent behavior of specified demographic target groups.

By transforming shopping behavior and media consumption into intelligence about a consumer’s unique preferences, ChoiceStream has been able to help many leading retailers target their most qualified prospective customers with the right advertisements, email promotions and product recommendations. With this information in hand, merchants can improve brand engagement, conversion rates and customer loyalty.

Team:

Based in Cambridge MA, ChoiceStream was founded by CEO Steve Johnson, who also developed the CRUNCH solution with COO Eric Bosco.

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