Amazon to Expand Whole Foods Stores, Prime Now Delivery

Amazon plans to build more Whole Foods stores across the United States, indicate sources, with the goal of adding more customers within reach of the company’s two-hour delivery service. The move is a transformation for the grocery store, which had slowed its growth in the years before Amazon’s 2017 purchase for about $13.5 billion. Although Amazon wouldn’t comment on expansion plans, sources say that Whole Foods staffers are searching for potential retail space in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, which currently don’t have Whole Foods stores. Continue reading Amazon to Expand Whole Foods Stores, Prime Now Delivery

Snapchat Intros Native Shopping With E-Commerce Channel

Snapchat’s Discover section now features a new channel called “Shop & Cop” that offers an e-commerce experience powered by Shopify. The new channel allows consumers to shop without having to leave the app. It is curated by Snapchat, but features Shopify merchants selling their products. Black Friday and Cyber Monday served as the launching pad for rolling out the feature while offering special bargains. Coco and Breezy, Gymshark, Kylie Cosmetics and Drake’s merchandise shop TourLife are among the 20 brands that have already signed on. Continue reading Snapchat Intros Native Shopping With E-Commerce Channel

Alibaba Breaks Singles Day Record, But Economy Is Slowing

A recently invented Chinese holiday, Singles Day, posted $1 billion in sales in 85 seconds on November 11, with a gala kickoff event headlined by singer Mariah Carey, model Miranda Kerr and basketball star Allen Iverson. For the holiday, the equivalent to our Black Friday, sales rose 27 percent, nonetheless the slowest annual increase in its 10 year history (last year sales rose 39 percent). Alibaba shares doubled in 2017 but this year are down 16 percent, the result of a slowing economy and U.S. trade tariffs. Continue reading Alibaba Breaks Singles Day Record, But Economy Is Slowing

Walmart to Test Retail Tech With Launch of Sam’s Club Now

Walmart is upping the ante with rival Amazon by opening a cashierless “Sam’s Club Now” store in Texas, vying with automated Amazon Go stores. Walmart is experimenting with the concept via its members-only Sam’s Club. According to Jamie Iannone, chief exec of SamsClub.com and executive vice president of membership and technology, the store is “very close to opening” and will be the “epicenter of innovation for Sam’s Club.” In the soon-to-open shop, users will rely on a new Sam’s Club Now app to scan items, and a staff member will scan the entire purchase before the user exits. Continue reading Walmart to Test Retail Tech With Launch of Sam’s Club Now

Pinterest Introduces New Features to Make Shopping Easier

In an effort to become more of a personal shopping assistant, Pinterest has introduced product recommendations with its new Product Pin system based on an individual’s tastes. It has also launched a shopping shortcut in the main home feed that provides easy access to a shopping-specific feed and list of shoppable Product Pins by holding down a Home or Style pin to access a shopping tag icon. Pinterest previously rolled out Buyable Pins for direct purchases through the platform in addition to other recommendation features such as Shop the Look and Lens that use machine learning and visual search. Continue reading Pinterest Introduces New Features to Make Shopping Easier

U.S. Consumers Admit to Sharing Amazon, Netflix Accounts

According to a new study from Country Financial, a majority of U.S. consumers are sharing their login info for mobile, shopping and streaming accounts, but are not necessarily sharing the tab. The study found that overall, 74 percent of consumers say they share accounts for Airbnb, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify and Uber with their family members and friends (and, in some cases, even their exes). However, more than 36 percent of those who freely share their accounts also indicate that they do not share the monthly costs of those accounts with others. Continue reading U.S. Consumers Admit to Sharing Amazon, Netflix Accounts

Instagram Unveils Explore Shopping Tab, Stickers for Stories

Instagram plans to debut a standalone Shopping app, a move that could rival Pinterest and Wish. Ahead of the move, it is adding a shopping tab to the Explore page, which will allow users to look through a dedicated feed of merchandise from a wide range of vendors. Those sellers will be able to add stickers to their Stories for the first time, letting consumers shop from the Stories feed by tapping on the product. With this feature, shoppers will let people consider possible purchases before heading to the seller’s website. Continue reading Instagram Unveils Explore Shopping Tab, Stickers for Stories

Survey Finds That Smart Speakers Are Gaining in Popularity

A new Adobe Analytics survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers has found that voice assistants and smart speakers are becoming increasingly popular. Adobe predicts that following the next holiday season, almost half of U.S. consumers will own a smart speaker. The market has grown about 15 percent in less than one year; more than 32 percent of consumers now own a smart speaker. People are most commonly using such tech to play music, check weather forecasts, set alarms/reminders as well as obtain directions, check sports scores and traffic, and ask fun questions. Continue reading Survey Finds That Smart Speakers Are Gaining in Popularity

New Features Make it Easier to Run Ads on Google Services

Google launched four new ad products to automate the process of buying ads and create a central marketing hub for Google. Via an integration with Shopify, Google now runs shopping ads on its site and enables advertisers to buy these ads directly through Shopify, a move that helps both companies fend off rival Amazon. The new ad products allow marketers to set a goal and then pursue it with ads across Google Search, Google Maps, YouTube and the Internet. Google ads head Sridhar Ramaswamy describes it as a “one-stop shop.” Continue reading New Features Make it Easier to Run Ads on Google Services

Amazon to Launch Small Delivery Companies for ‘Last Mile’

Amazon is expanding its package delivery business in an interesting way: it’s inviting interested parties to form small delivery companies of up to 100 drivers and to lease between 20 and 40 Amazon vans. In this way, Amazon can quickly expand its “last mile” delivery network into turf now dominated by FedEx and United Parcel Service. The company says it is merely responding to the need to handle an increasing number of orders on its platform; analysts estimate that more than $4 of every $10 spent online is on Amazon. Continue reading Amazon to Launch Small Delivery Companies for ‘Last Mile’

Brand Strategy for Mobile Apps Is Crucial, Tricky to Manage

Brands need an app strategy, say the experts. Shoppers, especially millennials, are increasingly purchasing goods through their smartphones. Forrester Analytics reports that smartphone purchases in 2018 will reach $118 billion, up from $13.4 billion in 2013. But to be successful with an app, the brand needs to ensure that its performance is superior, as users will quickly rid themselves of apps that are slow, push too many notifications, do not offer exclusive sales or promotions or have a confusing layout. Continue reading Brand Strategy for Mobile Apps Is Crucial, Tricky to Manage

Google Plans to Invest $550 Million in China Retailer JD.com

As part of its efforts to expand in Asia and compete with Amazon, Google is investing $550 million in Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com. The partnership will include the Google Shopping advertising platform promoting JD.com products, which should help the Beijing-based Jingdong (formerly 360buy) reach beyond China and Southeast Asia markets to the U.S. and Europe. Google has been ramping up investments across Asia. The company recently invested in Indonesian ride-hailing company Go-Jek, and is reportedly considering an investment in Indian e-commerce upstart Flipkart. Continue reading Google Plans to Invest $550 Million in China Retailer JD.com

Facebook Monitors Advertisers via Customer Feedback Tool

Facebook is introducing a new feature that will allow users to leave feedback after buying products from advertisers on its site, with the goal of cracking down on businesses that sell shoddy goods or don’t deliver them promptly. In addition to this new tool, Facebook is also warning e-commerce companies that get large numbers of complaints, to allow them to improve. If the companies do not clean up their act, says Facebook, it will constrain the number of ads they deliver and could ban them. Continue reading Facebook Monitors Advertisers via Customer Feedback Tool

Smart Speakers Could Become Centers of Retail Ecosystems

Consumers buying smart home and other Internet of Things devices don’t often understand the wider implications of their purchases. The tech companies building these devices are creating ecosystems that could, among other things, determine the future of retail. For example, buying a smart speaker to play music will likely become the consumer’s “access point” for a range of services, including shopping options. Consumers opting into one company’s products may be unknowingly opting out of other companies’ offerings. Continue reading Smart Speakers Could Become Centers of Retail Ecosystems

Payments Feature Could Make Instagram a Commerce Player

Instagram has quietly introduced a native payments feature that allows users to make purchases without having to leave the photo- and video-sharing app. Once the user registers a debit or credit card and creates a security PIN, native payments are possible through a select number of partners. Facebook-owned Instagram is testing the waters with the ability to book appointments and reservations via businesses such as salons or restaurants, but also envisions the ability for users to purchase movie tickets directly through the app in the future. Continue reading Payments Feature Could Make Instagram a Commerce Player

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