Tag: shopping

Amazon’s Prime Day boosted sales by 60 per cent

amazonOnline retailer Amazon claims that its “prime day” resulted in a boost of sales of 60 percent worldwide.

Despite early glitches, the retailer said it recorded the largest daily sales for Amazon devices on Tuesday, helped by heavy discounts. The Fire TV Stick was its best-selling device.

Orders rose by more than 50 percent in the United States, Amazon said. Orders placed on the company’s mobile app doubled.

Amazon did not provide total sales figures for the event, which was open only to members of its $99-per-year Prime subscription service.

However it might not have gone as well as Amazon hoped. Analysts noted that the rate of deals selling out was a lot slower than expected, meaning that Amazon was expecting the demand to be higher. However the number were still pretty good.

If orders jumped 60 percent over last year, that could mean sales in excess of $650 million on this year’s Prime Day

Citi analysts had projected up to $1 billion in sales from Prime Day. However, a snag that resulted in some customers being unable to add discounted items to their shopping carts could have affected sales.

Amazon’s potential sales from the event pales in comparison with the more than $14 billion of total value of goods transacted during Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping festival in China in November.

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster said global unit sales growth of more than 60 percent outperformed the brokerage’s estimate of a 37 percent growth.

The sale is also expected to drive shoppers to the Prime service, which offers original TV programming and access to digital entertainment products such as Prime Music and Prime Video, as well as one-hour delivery of purchases.

Benchmark Co analyst Daniel Kurnos said he expects Prime Day to have added over 6 million new Prime members worldwide and to boost year-over-year revenue growth by 300 basis points.

Smartphone shoppers smarter than average shopper

Amazon logoResearch from IDC suggests that your average smartphone shopper is smarter than your average bear.

And smartphones are turning out to be a bit of a nightmare for your average high street shop.

IDC analysed app and mobile of over 10,000 smartphone users during the holiday season.

One in three of the people IDC surveyed said they bought more online than from bricks and mortar outfits in the season, compared to the same period the year before.

Amazon did particularly well out of the trend.

Of those that were surveyed, 69 percent believed that smartphones were critical tools when you’re out shopping.  And 70 percent said they’d use their smartphones more in the future.

Five out of 10 people check reviews from their smartphones and shoppers tend to trust social networks for views.

IDC’s results were born out by Dan Wagner, founder and CEO of Powa Technologies. He said: “The traditional stores really need to up their game to compete in the new shopping paradigm that we are entering. Customer engagement is the key to survival in 2014, at present customers who walk through the doors of high street shops are unknown to them.

“This needs to change fast, customer engagement holds the critical path to growth in fierce market conditions. It is vital for retailers to know the buying behaviour of the person who has walked through the door: are they a loyal customer? What are they interested in? Online retailers have all this information and utilise it to engage their customers very effectively as the sales figures have born out.”

High street must evolve or die

highstreetA retail company is calling out for a change in the way the high street manages and expects upticks in sales.

Powa Technologies CEO Dan Wagner suggested it is ridiculous to rely on the weather for an upturn in sales when the country is in search of wider improvements in economic performance. “There should be a greater emphasis on innovation that engages more directly with consumers to deliver more activity at the tills,” Wagner said.

Online shopping has transformed the way people buy and the high street has struggled to keep up. Of course, high street stores were bound to have a hard time if they clung to old models, which has lead to the death or transformation of what were once givens in any town centre.

Convenience has trumped the bricks and mortar approach for many people. Especially when it comes to delivering content, microtransactions online get that content to whichever device you prefer so much faster than a bricks and mortar shop, it’s unsurprising that many film and music outlets have faltered.

But this won’t necessarily mean the death of the high street.

“New shopping models involve convenient delivery and collection methods, more enjoyable methods of browsing, and quick means of payment,” Wagner said. “We shouldn’t be anticipating the loss of the high street, we should be anticipating its evolution”.

Just where that evolution will go depends on companies being prepared to take risks. One possible model is a hybrid approach, where consumers can buy online and collect in store or vice versa in interactive showrooms.

Brick and mortar, ecommerce start to converge

visa-epayPhysical retail outlets and e-commerce operations are starting to converge and consumers are starting to treat all channels as shopping, which it essentially is. Although high streets are suffering, e-commerce is becoming a force to be reckoned with, but e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail are not mutually exclusive.

Google reckons that retail channels are converging, as traditional retailers are starting to make inroads in e-commerce. Physical shops are undergoing a transformation, they are becoming more focused on brand building than actual retail and they are becoming catalysts for related e-commerce services.

In a recent whitepaper Google VP of ads and commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy concluded that consumers no longer see a distinction between online and offline shopping. The experience is becoming seamless and intertwined.

“Whether it’s searching on a laptop, browsing main street shops, or hanging out at the mall — it’s all shopping,” he wrote.

Since shoppers seem to be growing blind to the distinction between e-commerce and traditional shopping, they might end up with similar expectations for customer service regardless of the channel, reports Practicalecommerce.com. In other words, they might expect the same level of service online as they do in actual stores. Salespersons keep physical retail going by offering consumer advice and more information than sterile e-commerce sites, while the online channel is unbeatable for comparing prices and saving money.

“Today’s shoppers have become accustomed to doing their own research to get the maximum value out of every dollar they spend, and to feel secure about the purchases they’re making;” Ramaswamy wrote. “With this power shift comes a great opportunity for retailers; those that use tools and insights from the web have the opportunity to close the gap between the smart online consumer and the offline retailer, and stand out in a competitive marketplace.”

Searching for products and comparing prices online is easy, provided one knows what to look for, and this is where salespersons need to be involved, with expert advice. Getting a better deal on a product doesn’t really matter if that particular product does not meet the customers actual needs and properly informing and advising consumers online is just as important as having as competent salesperson in a brick-and-mortar shop.

Online shops get physical

google-walletAmerica pioneered online shopping and its e-commerce outfits are now spearheading another trend. They are thinking of opening traditional brick and mortar stores.

Online juggernaut Amazon is said to be actively exploring a store concept and it is not alone. Bonobos, Warby Parker, Sigma Beauty and others are doing it as well.

It might sound surprising, given the e-commerce boom, but online outfits are looking ahead. They can’t hope to sustain current growth rates much longer, so they might be compelled to branch into physical stores sooner or later.

“But we wanted to put a face on the brand, and we wanted people to touch and feel the product,” Sigma cofounder Simone Xavier told CPA Practice Advisor.

Although online retailers tend to have much lower costs than their traditional counterparts, websites can’t completely replace showrooms and stores, or good salespersons for that matter.

“It is strange to see e-commerce sites open physical stores,” said retail consultant Jeff Green. “But when you think about, it’s not surprising. The most successful retailers are going to have a combination of bricks-and-mortars and digital sales. For online retailers, you might as well get to the sale as close as you can.”

Of course, online retailers will stay true to their roots and their physical stores won’t replace online. Many probably won’t bother with physical stores at all and even those that do are likely to face a lot of challenges.

US mums move to m-commerce

mumUS mums looking for an easy way to shop have become some of the broadest adopters of m-commerce, research by Alliance Data Retail Services has found.

However, mums in the UK have disagreed, citing security and fiddly smartphones as prevention for taking up this shopping method.

According to the credit card program provider more mums than ever are using m-commerce to help to be able to shop more efficiently in order to be able to keep up with their busy lives. It pointed out that mums who want to shop and not drop will frequently do so over m-commerce as opposed to having to drive to a store to make a purchase.

Among the respondents, 29 percent of mums said that the primary reason that they chose their smartphones for shopping was due to the speed and ease of the process.

Others used m-commerce to search for promotions and vouchers as well as finding the cheapest branded products.

However, over in the UK, the uptake of this technology is less. In a quick survey of 60 mums, 70 percent said they wouldn’t choose this method of shopping.

One told ChannelEye: “The method doesn’t seem secure. If I’m at home then I’ll feel safer as I’ll be using my own wi-fi but if I’m out it’s a no go. Therefore I might as well just log on using my laptop, which has a bigger screen and is less fiddly.”

People regret boozy online buys

boozebeltAccording to a new OnePoll study, nearly a quarter of British consumers have bought products online while under the influence of happy juice. Needless to say, they regret their purchases, like most other things we do while inebriated. 

Two thousand consumers took part in the survey and the results indicate that the convenience offered by e-commerce services is a double edged sword. It is not like e-commerce outfits are targeting drunk consumers, but the ease of spending hard earned cash with just a few clicks seems to be a bit too much for some jolly consumers to miss out on. Spending too much money while drunk tends to be a bad idea, whether you do it online or out on the town.

In addition, the interfaces of e-commerce sites are susceptible to all kinds of shopping mistakes. A total of 56 per cent of consumers admitted that they regretted buying clothing items online, while 22 per cent felt buyer’s remorse after getting a gadget, reports shopsafe.co.uk.

It is estimated that British consumers spend over £1,000 online a year on average. It seems that a good chunk of that is spent after a few glasses behind the laptop.

Metro.co.uk reports the case of a 22-year-old man, who somehow managed to order 22 tickets to an Oasis concert after a drinking session. The drunken shopping spree cost him over £2,000. It is not clear whether he enjoyed the gig.

Shoppers shun brand snobbery for cheap prices

light blueShoppers are shunning “premium shops” as the place to buy premium brands, and instead are happy to buy them at the cheapest possible price, research has revealed.

In the latest survey of 1,000 consumers, ShopperCentric said just over three quarters cited ‘product quality’ as the key defining feature of a premium brand.

A measly 16 percent said that they felt that upmarket stores were the place to go to buy these brands, with half of those questioned saying that it was the pricing that attracted them into stores.

Snobbery around premium brands was also shunned, with six in ten shoppers claiming that they hated the status these products held, and just 28 percent stated that they wanted to feel ’special’ when they bought these.

In fact, it seems lower prices and promotions are the way to a consumer’s pocket, with 74 percent of shoppers claiming that they loved finding a premium brand with a price discount and 61 percent said they only bought premium brands when they were on offer.

Manufacturers could face a lose/lose situation. 59 percent of shoppers admitted that if they saw a premium brand on reduced price, it would make them question whether the full price was too high.

Despite that, 37 percent of shoppers agreed that the types of brands who don’t discount, don’t care about their shoppers.

Danielle Pinnington, Managing Director of ShopperCentric said that the findings showed that  that price alone clearly did not “denote superior quality for shoppers any more”.

Instead, “great (and proven) quality appeared to lie at the heart of an unequivocal premium brand definition.”

She pointed out there was a role for expressing this through price, packaging, image or even channel and in store.

“For many shoppers it appears, it isn’t about where you sell a premium brand, but how you sell it,” she added.

Consumer environment to remain subdued says Next chief

highstreetNext’s chief exec has warned that the consumer environment will “remain subdued”.

Lord Wolfson’s comments come as the retail giant, which has 541 stores nationwide, posted its financial figures for  the second quarter of 2013 where it announced a nine percent rise in profits.

Figures jumped to £621.6 million and revenues from its online business increased by 9.5 percent to £1.2 billion.

However, despite hoping to increase profits to £665 million this year, Lord Wolfson said the economy was still difficult and it would take time for the nation to work its way back to “affording the lifestyle it was already enjoying before the financial crisis”.

The Chief’s comments contrast to a recent report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which found that retail takings grew by 1.8 percent in February after a slow start to 2013, which was blamed on the bad weather.

Department stores  saw a 10.6 percent sales increase in February – the biggest monthly rise since last April driven by computer equipment and jewellery.

However, Next has yet to see the benefits with Wolfson claiming the company’s earnings were running below the rate of inflation. He said this decline in real earnings looked set to continue for at least one, if not several more years.

“Indeed the outlook for 2013 inflation has worsened since this time last year,” he said.
He also admitted that the company’s present sales were at the bottom of its target range, although it hoped for improvement once it gained a better understanding of the underlying consumer environment once temperatures returned to seasonal levels.

However, his tame words in the financial statement were in contrast to his comments in The Guardian, where he laid into “incompetent” local councils for the state of the high street.

He said some high streets had been neglected for 20 to 30 years as a result of councils  resistant to change, meaning there were many towns and cities where the stock of shops was inadequate.

Tourists flock to UK high streets

highWhile Brits are clutching tightly onto their purse strings, their foreign counterparts seem to be happy to splash the cash on the UK high street.

In a survey, VisitBritain found that overseas visitors had splurged a record £18.5 billion during their visits to the UK,  up seven percent year-on-year from 2010.

The organisation said that this amounted to 25 percent of all expenditure by overseas visitors on the UK’s high streets.

The figure was a refreshing change from the doom and gloom spelled out in recent retail surveys, which continue to show Brits are reluctant to splash their cash on shopping.

Most recently a survey from CBI suggested that seven percent of retailers saw an increase in their volume of sales in the year to February and 29 percent reported a reduction.

However, it doesn’t seem dismal weather and high inflation are putting holidaymakers off.

According to VisitBritain, the majority of the shopping spend was on clothes, with an estimated £2.3 billion generated by fashion-conscious foreign tourists. Many visitors also bought souvenirs, gifts and household goods, accounting for around £1.6 billion.

Of the 18 million visitors, the French were the  most prolific shoppers with over two million trips, followed closely by 1.63 million Germans, 1.63 million Americans, 1.3 million Irish and 1.1 million Spanish.

Mobile shopping apps only four percent of e-commerce revenue

smartphone-shoppingIn spite of the unprecedented smartphone boom, shoppers are apparently still reluctant when it comes to e-commerce apps.

According to a report compiled by Research2Guidance.com,  the vast majority of mobile shops made less than 5 percent of their total e-commerce revenue via the mobile channel.