It's been a year of data theft. In the wake of Equifax, Deloitte, SEC and other major security breaches, the personally identifiable information of millions of people has been put in jeopardy. Against this backdrop, the imminent holiday shopping season – from Black Friday to Boxing Day – may look positively menacing to consumers and businesses alike.
Amazon Marketplace sellers are in an uproar over the retail giant’s return policy. Some are going as far as to claim that new rules, which take effect October 2, will “crush” small businesses and force them out of the market.
With all the confusion and anger about these policy changes, I wanted to take this opportunity to look at them more closely. What are these new rules all about, and are they really the doomsday prophecy so many retailers are predicting?
According to a recent forecast from Credit Suisse, some 8,640 brick-and-mortar store fronts may close this year in the U.S. alone. We’re talking mainline brands such as Kmart, JC Penney, The Limited, Macy’s, Payless ShoeSource, Radio Shack, and the list goes on, representative of some 147 million square feet. That’s more than the historical peak of 6,200 storefronts that were a casualty of 2008’s Great Recession. A combination of over-building and, more importantly, consumers’ increasing appetite for e-commerce is creating a retail tumbleweed effect akin to Walmart moving in and blowing out every mom-and-pop operation lined up on Main Street U.S.A.
Accepting online payments as a direct response business is appealing for many reasons, but if you are a new business owner with no prior payment processing knowledge, finding the right payment processor for you can seem like a daunting experience.
Let us take you through the basics of everything you need to know about payment processing from the payments ecosystem, understanding rates & fees, and finding the right payment processor for your business.
Welcome to the Friday Forecast
The so-called anchor store, which has been a mainstay of shopping malls across America since the centers first made their appearance in the mid-1950s, is in serious jeopardy. Although brick and mortar retails sales still eclipse ecommerce by a wide margin, the lion’s share of growth in retail sales is occurring online:
- According to eMarketer, domestic sales for 2016 are forecasted at nearly $5 trillion. However, retail ecommerce accounted for just 8.7% of total retail spending.
- However, while year-to-year retail growth was pegged at 3.3%, year-to-year ecommerce growth was 14% according to a forecast from Kiplinger.
While ecommerce continues its inexorable march to a bigger bite of the overall retail pie, department stores have been taking it on the chin. While Macy’s is currently the fifth largest ecommerce retailer with $4.8 billion in online sales, the department store chain recently announced the closure of 68 stores by mid-year with plans to close 30 more over the next few years. Those closures represent a loss of approximately 10,000 jobs.
Consumers have grown accustomed to using smartphones just about everywhere. Well, everywhere except at the checkout. Only 9 percent of consumers use a mobile payment at the point of sale when it’s available, according to a new study from marketing firm Placeable. And perhaps even more surprisingly, four out of 10 Americans have not made a single purchase using a mobile wallet.
From the absence of a consistent user experience, to capabilities that fall short of consumer expectations, numerous issues stand in the way of a top notch mobile shopping experience. But advancements in the mobile payments space, mainly the introduction of digital credentials, may soon change that. By enabling consumers to bring along digital versions of their ID, license, passport or health cards wherever they may go, digital credentials are helping both consumers and retailers overcome gaps in a seamless user experience.
In fact, this emerging technology promises to change the way today's shoppers and retailers, interact with one another – especially at point of sale. Here’s a look at how digital credentials will impact retail in the new year.
In 2002, psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. As Michael Lewis writes in his new book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, this was unprecedented because “how on earth does a psychologist win a Nobel Prize in economics?” The answer is that Kahenman was a pioneer in the field now known as “behavioral economics.” Specifically, his work focused on the psychology of judgment and decision-making.
Kahneman would surely have shared his Nobel with Amos Tversky, his lifelong collaborator, had Tversky not died of cancer in 1996. (The award is not given posthumously.) Kahneman and Tversky spent decades disproving the idea that humans are rational decision-makers. They initially identified three mental shortcuts, or “heuristics,” people use in place of logic and reason. Many more have since been discovered.
With a new year upon us, it’s time to examine what is on the horizon for online retail. Where will the eCommerce environment lead us in 2017? What emerging technologies will prove to alter the way in which we conduct business? What practices are now outdated and how will retailers need to adjust for future success?
I anticipate the biggest change this year will be how retailers connect with customers—including the platform, channel, and even media through which different parties interact.
The holidays are right around the corner and merchants across the world are gearing up for a busy retail season, including peak periods like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles Day. But with increased sales come increased risks for fraud. And big ticket retailers, like electronics merchants, have even more to lose – losses that may not appear until several months after the holiday shopping rush. Read on to learn what retailers’ biggest vulnerabilities will be this shopping season so that you can enjoy a holly jolly season and avoid holiday horrors.
Conversational commerce—it’s one of the hottest marketing topics of 2016, and to be honest, there is a lot here to be excited about.
Technologies such as chat and messaging apps are especially valuable to marketers when it comes to reaching out to highly-coveted Millennial and Gen-Z consumers. In response, app developers are sending signals that conversational commerce will only grow more promising, with the makers of Snapchat, Facebook, and others adding such features as mobile wallets, in-app payments, and more.
However, simply deploying bots is not enough to convince consumers to complete a purchase; that process will need to be optimized in order to be effective.
By adopting the following best practices, businesses can ensure that they make the most of these new opportunities.
At the recent D2C convention, I presented a session entitled Trend Spotting: Benchmarking the Present and Predicting the Future of Marketing. My intention was a simple one: to synthesize the latest statistics, forecasts, and best practices in marketing from over 100 different sources to save my audience time and to provide insight that will help you today and in the future. In the fifth of this six-part series we take a look at mass retail and its impact on direct marketing. For the purposes of this blog post, the term “retail” will mean traditional bricks and mortar retail. Given the presentation was confined to an hour, I have had to limit my focus, but hopefully the learnings gleaned will prove helpful to the reader.
There are some eye-opening stats out there about loyalty program engagement: Consumers on average are enrolled in 29 loyalty programs, yet are only active in 12. Six out of 10 customers believe that companies only offer rewards programs to get them to buy more. And 74 percent of U.S. retailers reveal that customer engagement is their number one concern.
At this point, it’s somewhat of a cliché to comment that “the holidays just keep getting earlier each year.”
This year, the holiday shopping season crept right up into the end of the back-to-school season, with Walmart releasing its “25 Hottest Toys for the Holidays 2016” list on September 1. Now we have to ask—what are the benefits to retailers to continue pushing holiday shopping earlier, and is there a downside?
Temperatures aren’t the only thing rising this summer. Each year, more than 200 million passengers board flights all across the country, making summer the hottest time of the year to travel. In order to cut down the cost of a family vacation during June, July, or August, many travelers are turning toward loyalty programs. Whether it’s saving up for discounted airfare or a free tank of gas, loyalty points and miles give travelers the opportunity to maximize their summer vacation plans. For retailers, there’s never been a better time to accommodate such travelers by enabling ways for them to earn toward that big trip while shopping with you.
Two of the most frustrating online shopping experiences for a consumer are when an online search brings up the wrong products or brings up what appears to be the right product, but the search results lack the attributes and descriptions needed to close the sale. Unfortunately, failure to make products easily searchable or to convert the sale is often due to poor product content. This is a problem that is all too common for a wide range of retailers from online only to large omnichannel chains. For those commerce players that get it right, there is a clear path to differentiation and improved conversions.
And if you are an Amazon Prime member with (at least) one of these Amazon Dash Buttons, congratulations. You are on the vanguard of the Physical Membership Economy.
RetailMeNot, Inc., a leading digital savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands, both online and in-store, has released a new study titled, “Back-to-School Cheat Sheet: Consumer Trends and Insights for Retailers,” that explores the shopping habits of parents as they prepare for their students’ return to the classroom.
Following are a few interesting statistics.
IRCE, taking place at Chicago’s McCormick Place West, June 7-10, boasts networking events, an expansive exhibit hall and a focused conference agenda.
Hosting an incredible roster of knowledgeable speakers next month, IRCE has top leaders kicking off the two main conference days—from Dell, NASA, Steve Madden, and TigerFitness.com—who are not to be missed.
IRCE, taking place at Chicago’s McCormick Place West, June 7-10, attracts nearly 10,000 attendees and provides you with multiple opportunities to make new connections and learn from one another. In addition to networking events and gathering spots, IRCE’s expansive exhibit hall and focused conference agenda affords you the opportunities to discover new trends and find new technologies.
At the core of electronic retailing is a direct relationship with the consumer. From the very beginning, there is a point of connection with the shopper—something compelling that spurred him or her to action—establishing a strong foundation for future interaction, loyalty, and lifetime value.
In the high-pressure e-commerce environment—where we constantly face aggressive metrics for sales revenue, margin, and conversion—it’s easy to forget about those human relationships and their long-term value. But thinking about your customers first and optimizing your supply chain around their needs can yield incredible dividends, turning one-time shoppers into repeat customers and transforming customers into advocates for your brand.
Since news hit that Google was going to eliminate paid search text ads from the right rail of its results page on February 22, the industry has been abuzz with speculation on exactly what those changes may mean for advertisers.
To help provide some preliminary answers to this question at this early date, AdGooroo examined changes in the number of advertisers and cost per click on 2,500 top retail keywords from February 1 through February 18 compared to the period from February 19 (the day we started seeing significant changes on Google’s right rail) through March 8.
Global ecommerce is projected to top USD $1.8 trillion in 2016, and while digital consumers are enamored with the convenience of mobile shopping, analysts are finding that they’re also concerned about some aspects of the ecommerce experience. In its 2015 Consumer Payments Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers subsidiary Strategy& found that digital shoppers want better data privacy, more assurances of transaction security, and more rewards and offers when they shop online. Ecommerce and mcommerce merchants who address these consumer concerns wisely can build customer trust and differentiate themselves from the competition in the year ahead.
In today’s expanding world of omnichannel marketing, marketers must have the ability to not only offer their products across a multitude of different platforms, but they must also be able to deliver the product to the customer once the sale has been accomplished. Consumers have multiple options available to satisfy their shopping needs. They might be compelled by an infomercial to pick up the phone and order, they might shop in-store at a brick-and-mortar retail location, or they might shop via a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or smart TV.
With both mobile devices and social media now ubiquitous, e-retailers are tailoring their approach to cater to new, more savvy online shoppers. Click-to-buy ads are the hot new trend for increasing sales.
Are they really as great an ecommerce development as they seem?