Christmas Retail Figures Failed to Impress

| January 14, 2019

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The BRC’s members reported 0% year-on-year growth from last December, the worst performance since December 2008, as consumers fretted about Brexit and held off large purchases.But sales were actually worse than the flat figure implied. The BRC said that on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the impact of new stores, UK retail sales declined by 0.7% from December 2017.Retailers had been buoyed by strong sales over the summer, a surprising retail bonanza driven by good weather, weaker inflation, and modest wage growth. But those good spirits didn’t last through the holidays.“Squeezed consumers chose not to splash out this Christmas, with retail sales growth stalling for the first time in 28 months,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.“The worst December sales performance in 10 years means a challenging start to 2019 for retailers, with business rates set to rise once again this year, and the threat of a no-deal Brexit looming ever larger.”A separate report from Barclaycard found that consumer spending grew 1.8% from December 2017 to December 2018, the lowest rate of growth seen since March 2016.The data shows that consumers “remain cautious amidst ongoing economic uncertainty,” said Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard.

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Yotpo Extends Its eCommerce Marketing Platform with Retail Syndication

Article | February 29, 2020

Today, Yotpo announced a partnership with Bazaarvoice that will enable Yotpo customers to syndicate their product reviews and visual user-generated content to the world’s largest network of retail websites, empowering over a billion monthly shoppers to make more confident buying decisions. The power of Yotpo’s data-driven eCommerce marketing platform combined with the broad reach of the Bazaarvoice Network demonstrates the value of Yotpo’s best-in-class solution for the world’s most cutting-edge brands. With this agreement, eCommerce marketers can continue to leverage Yotpo’s end-to-end platform to grow their direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel while accelerating third-party sales in parallel by syndicating their customer reviews, ratings, and visual content to the network’s 1,900 global retail sites.

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Traffic to US retail stores has almost entirely vanished due to Covid-19

Article | February 29, 2020

At many malls and retail stores around the US, foot traffic has been in decline for some time. Even so, they’ve never seen anything like this. In a research note sent to clients today, investment firm Cowen and Company estimated total foot traffic to US retailers was down 97.6% for the week through March 27 compared to the same time last year. It has come to a “near complete halt,” Cowen said, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus. Many stores across the country are closed, of course, so shoppers couldn’t visit even if they wanted. Retailers have voluntarily shuttered stores to protect workers and help slow the virus’s spread. Simon Property Group, the largest mall owner in the US, closed its malls through at least the end of March.

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We Have No Idea What We’re Doing

Article | February 29, 2020

Prior to the pandemic and quarantine, less than 8% of commerce was online. As of Q3FY20 eCommerce grew north of 14% of all commerce. So while the Retailpocalypse was in its last phase, physical retail still outsold eCommerce by at least 7:1. The failure rate of crowdfunding campaigns is 85%. The failure rate of eCommerce store owners ranges from 80 to 97%. What if there were a way to bridge the gap between these three failure rates? What if we could bridge what people consume online with what they purchase offline before waiting for brain-computer interfaces (BCI)? In short what if we could bridge social and commerce? (Example use case.) Mostly missing are the memorable, meaningful, measurable and monetizable responses from people interested in stories about beagles, princesses and pitbulls, pets, car repair, raspberry blueberry vinaigrette gyros, budget-saving techniques for holiday travel, getting stuck at airports in blizzards, rental cars and Cup o’ Noodles, My Fair Lady and @Instacart, dining out at the delicious Banana Leaves café, cooking kosher halal gelatin-free, blue #1 artificial dye-free egg nog flavored marshmallows, 50th anniversaries and chocolate ganache, adventures camping with youth groups, birdhouses built by kids, rainbow hair dye, artificial dye-free cakes DIY for your child’s birthday party, and Halloween gingerbread houses and Greek Mount Olympus costumes. Other than ad revenue Youtube collects which most of it’s video posters see little of, monetizing the DIY craze has proven quite tricky. Ditto for Christmas shopping, smartphone accessories, buying a new luxury Subaru online with no salesman, how to get hard to find contact lenses and vitamins for kids, how Amazon often has thrift store prices on inventory thrift stores rarely carry, the challenges of buying clothes on Amazon that don’t fit but you don’t realize that until the clothes arrive, DIY car repair, funny car repair, glorious victory of car repair, diaper cakes and muscle aches, drones and honey scones, Triple A baseball and blue-tailed skinks, favorite foods, fasting, and Boston, fused vertebrae and buried treasure, where to buy school supplies when most stores are sold out, creameries and charcuterie, Bridging social media with eCommerce has been the white rhino of many investors and start-ups for many years. Instead of working toward such solutions, we have VC’s and stockholders asking about vanity metrics: - How many people looked at your website? Instead of: How many people subscribed or how many purchased an item?- - How many downloads per month does your app have? Instead of: How many of the people who downloaded your app have note removed it less than 30 days later? - What’s your ad revenue? Instead of: How can your product capture or create more value? In reply entrepreneurs answer these questions, they often present their increased spend on marketing followed up with vanity milestones: “We’re using Google Analytics and similar providers to track every movement of the supply chain, to ensure when the purchaser’s journey is completed, there’s no delay in delivery. This will lead to more frequent purchases ideally of higher priced products, and… We are pitching to Chipotle on Friday!” This leads to concentrated research on Chipotle’s SWAT, followed up with an excellent pitch including a demo via Zoom. The result of this pitch is usually: 1. The person loved the pitch and accepts your invitation to meet again with his/her manager next week. 2. The person you pitched to is not the decision-maker 3. The person you pitched to doesn’t quite understand what you’re pitching 4. The person you pitched to had 3 other projects due by COB and wasn’t fully present and listening to your 10-minute pitch 5. You provided too many facts too quickly, trying to build rapport 6. You shared how you’re product can reduce shrink, increase ROI, decrease costs, increase retention, and cure cancer. The person you pitched to doesn’t believe all those promises. 7. The person you pitched to is afraid of advocating change; the risk from change that results in lesser results can lead to negative repercussions. The risk of “business as usual” is minimal. Forgotten by almost all eCommerce platforms and store owners are the facts that: - People behave differently when they are observed (best behavior vs. average behavior). Despite this, we are seeing an incredible number of start-ups that offer to help track everything your customers do. “We’re Palantir for eCommerce” is essentially the ethos of these companies. - The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwarz – too many choices overwhelm the person making the choice, to the point that no decision is made. If you don’t train your mind to buy what you want even if you have to look on pages other than Amazon and Google Shopping, you might end up buying the product you almost wanted. - The concept of incentivized virality – when PayPal gave $20 to each person who referred another person who joined, and when DropBox offered free data storage to people who referred friends who joined – which Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh brilliantly detailed in Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies. So now each eCommerce platform tries to copy Amazon who built their model on the opposite of physical retail. Consider your last experience renting a car at an airport vs. Amazon: - Do you want to refill the gas tank or would you like us to? - Would you like liability only or more comprehensive types of insurance coverage? - Would you like a GPS? - Would you like to join our exclusive members club? etc., etc. Adding to what @ElevateDemand said, “ B2B marketing is broken,” Raj De Datta, CEO and cofounder of @Bloomreach said, “The future of B2C marketing looks like B2B marketing,” Kevin Marasco, CMO of @Zenefits correctly said “marketing is going back in time from B2B to B2C” or person to person. Smart speakers in every phone, tablet, laptop PC, TV, and car succeeded by BCI, which @Facebook and @Neuralink are pioneering, hold great potential. Until those products arrive or after their R&D phase, @Homemaide’s object recognition and image recognition models can provide the sorely needed bridge between Social and Commerce.

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E-commerce Market & Trends: A Report On How India Sells & Shops

Article | February 29, 2020

You have to be living in a cave if you haven’t experienced e-commerce already! No, we aren’t really bluffing when we say this. With a business model that is growing steadily at 23% year-over-year, aren’t e-commerce markets the place to be? Further, to add on, 2020 has been a year like no other in recent history. The events of the coronavirus pandemic that marked its spread on a global scale, worked wonders in bringing us closer to e-commerce than we ever were. The e-commerce industry was the backbone of humanity amidst the time of pandemic and uncertain lockdowns across different countries around the globe. Considering the fact that e-commerce has been suited to the trend amidst the pandemic, let’s have a look at how the world’s largest democratic, India, which is also one of the hot spots for e-commerce giants, has kept up with its buying and selling during 2020. Let’s get started! The total “your order is placed successfully” notification so far: Beginning its spree of three months, lockdown in the country was enforced in the last week of March. Being the innovators of ‘jugaad’(alternative way of solving or fixing a problem), Indian’s were prepared for the event, giving the e-commerce sites, a taste of dip with 2.40% on the overall orders placed (Yes, we should also consider the events of lockdown on courier facilities). However, this wasn’t it as the highest dip was about to come in April 2020, giving a 10% blow to the e-commerce industry. While these were the lower points, the e-commerce industry has experienced a boom in orders placed after April, marking the highest for the year with July. However, we are not done with the sales yet! Wonder which particular segment was the king of sales amidst the entire pandemic drama? Guess… Seems like we Indians love our gadgets really well, yes, it was the electronics! With ‘unlock 1.0’ in action, we had our carts prepared for checking out, the e-commerce industry in India witnessed a growth of 162%. However, this was just a mere aid to the losses as June faced a setback again! Interestingly, September marked a change in the charts, making the highest number of orders placed in e-commerce platforms, marking a 43% spike in electronic sales. How Indians sold in 2020! 2020 has been a year like no other (in both senses of the word). The extended lockdowns and social distancing helped our local kiranas (General Store) to share the platform beside some large enterprises, allowing businesses of all forms to adapt to hyper-local e-commerce. Conclusion Ecommerce has earned its rightful place as the most preferred shopping mode for us Indians. Thankfully, the markets have picked up with their pace, post the events of Unlock 1.0. For any business, one of the best news that they can conclude the year with is the fact that consumers are no longer using digital platforms for their daily needs. Online platforms have earned their rightful place, making it the perfect time to depend on e-commerce business. Lastly, have also secured the 9th position in global growth.

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Spotlight

Sourcebooks

“Sourcebooks, a legitimate contender for the title of ‘most innovative company in book publishing.’”Mike Shatzkin, Idealog Innovators. Always looking for ways to bring new experiences to our readers, data is the backbone that gives direction to our creativity and informs our innovative spirit. Put Me In The Story, now the #1 personalized book platform in the U.S., is one of three e-commerce businesses we operate. We are committed to innovative publishing and to exploring new publishing platforms and models.Owners and Entrepreneurs. We take pride in being pioneers. Each of us is a leader invested in creating breakthrough for ourselves, our company, and readers everywhere.

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