Time for another roundup of US retail e-commerce news. US e-commerce sales were substantial in 2015 and projections for 2016 are positive. Amazon, Walmart and Apple lead US e-commerce stores and sales are expected to grow by 10 to 12 percent a year according to eMarketer. Walmart launched a new loyalty program which gives customers 3% cashback on all orders on Walmart.com, 2% at Walmart gas stations, and 1% on all in-store purchases. As sales hit $275 billion, Business Insider takes an in-depth look at the Amazon juggernaut.
MyTotalRetail profiles Target and its “Cheap Chic” strategies. REI‘s innovative 2015 Opt Outside campaign netted more than one million new members. Lookout Amazon, American Apparel is testing a new one-hour delivery program in 79 stores and 31 markets. Restoration Hardware introduced a new $100 annual membership program that gives users discounts and services online and in-store. Forever 21 topped retailers for e-commerce customer engagement in February according to a report in Fierce Retail.
Ecommerce Sales Expected to Boom Again This Holiday Season
US retail ecommerce sales during the 2015 holiday season, which comprises November and December, lived up to lofty expectations, but overall retail sales fell short of forecasts. eMarketer’s latest report, “US Holiday Shopping Preview 2016: Absorbing the Lessons of 2015,” explains why, looking forward to the 2016 holiday season, we expect another strong season for ecommerce and a tepid one for total retail sales.
Two competing stories emerged from the 2015 holiday season. On one hand, ecommerce had another terrific season, with sales growing 13.4%. On the other hand, retail sales overall fell flat, growing just 1.7%, the slowest rate since the depths of the Great Recession in 2008–2009 and well below eMarketer forecasts.
US retail ecommerce holiday sales growth in 2015 came in a touch below the previous year’s rate of 14.4%, but in some ways it was more impressive. In absolute terms, ecommerce sales grew by $9.33 billion in 2015, compared with an $8.76 billion increase in 2014. And because overall retail grew more slowly during the 2015 season, the ecommerce share of total retail climbed at a faster rate in 2015 than in 2014, increasing a full percentage point, to 9.3%. Via emarketer.com
Amazon, Wal-Mart Lead Top 25 E-commerce Retail List
As analysts expect e-commerce sales in the U.S. to continue growing by 10 to 12 percent a year, total e-commerce sales are already at substantial levels as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have expanded their online efforts.
As a result, total annual retail e-commerce sales are $201 billion, according to the 180 companies tracked by eMarketer. For the top 25 retailers, total annual e-commerce sales come in at $159 billion, with Amazon Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Apple Inc. taking the top three spots. According to eMarketer, Amazon’s e-commerce sales are $79.3 billion while Wal-Mart has $13.5 billion and Apple totals $12 billion.
Of the top 25 companies on the list, 18 are more traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that have pushed their online efforts over the past five years. These include companies such as Macy’s Inc., Nordstrom Inc., Target Corp., Gap Inc. and Neiman Marcus. Via wwd.com
Walmart Rewards Program Incentivizes Online Shopping
Walmart is debuting a new program today, but it’s no April’s Fools joke.
The retail giant is debuting a new rewards program called 3-2-1 Save for its store and prepaid cardholders. The program gives customers 3% cash back on all orders on Walmart.com, 2% on fuel at Walmart gas stations, and 1% on all in-store purchases and other in-person locations that accept the Walmart cards.
Synchrony Financial and Green Dot, the issuers of the cards, will manage the rewards program. The structure of the program incentivizes customers to shop online, which could increase digital spending. This strategy makes sense, as Walmart’s mobile app has 22 million users, and Synchrony Financial’s online and mobile sales surged 23% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2015. Via businessinsider.com
Charts showing Amazon’s $275 billion business
Most people think of Amazon as an online shopping store, but it’s actually much more than that.
Over the past 22 years, Amazon has turned itself into a $275 billion juggernaut that sells everything from cloud-computing services to its own hardware gadgets.
These 17 charts show just how scary its business really is. Via businessinsider.com
Targets Chic Beats Cheap
In our Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) for the discount retail category, Target has generally ranked in the No. 2 spot, after Wal-Mart and just ahead of Kmart. Those are the only three national discount retailers, so the list isn’t very long anymore.
Target was originally a division of Dayton Hudson Corporation, got bigger, and finally became the name for all the company’s divisions. Around the early ’90s, Target began to differentiate its stores by offering more upscale-feeling, trend-forward merchandise and clothing at lower costs. It created a category unto itself, even if just perceptually, called “cheap chic,” and was in direct opposition to the Wal-Mart model of focusing on low, lower, lowest-priced goods. Kmart didn’t actually have a strategy other than locations with low prices, but not quite as low as Wal-Mart. Via mytotalretail.com
REI’s ‘OptOutside’ nets 1 million new members
The outdoor co-op reported year-end revenue of $2.4 billion, a 9.3 percent increase over the prior year. Comparable store sales increase 7 percent. Digital sales grew by approximately 23 percent, thanks to a recent digital makeover.
REI added 1 million new members in 2015 and now boasts a co-op membership of more than 6 million. REI’s ‘OptOutside’ nets 1 million new members – FierceRetail
American Apparel launches on-demand delivery
The new service will be available in 79 American Apparel stores around the country in 31 metropolitan areas. Consumers will be able to choose from more than 50 core items for men and women. Currently the traditional method of clothing delivery from the retailer takes four to five days through standard shipping.
“American Apparel is improving its omnichannel consumer experience via Postmates by becoming their first major fashion retailer to offer ‘on-demand basics’,” said Thoryn Stephens, American Apparel’s chief digital officer. “You’ll be able to receive hoodies, t-shirts, socks and more within a 60-minute delivery window—it’s great for traveling or last-minute needs. For the second phase we’re integrating the experience with RFID for real-time inventory availability.” Via fierceretail.com
Restoration Hardware adds fee-based membership program
Restoration Hardware (NYSE:RH) has introduced a new fee-based membership program that gives users discounts and services not available to regular shoppers.
The RH Grey Card carries $100 annual fee and provides 25 percent off regular-priced merchandise and 10 percent off already reduced sale items. In addition, members will have access to complimentary interior design services, a dedicated concierge to manage orders, eligibility for preferred financing on the RH Card and early access to clearance events. The card can be used with all retail channels—stores, online, catalogs and phone orders. Via fierceretail.com
Forever 21 tops growth for online engagement in February
Peapod and FreshDirect were among the top five desktop performers for retailers in February, according to web analytics from SimilarWeb. Looking at U.S. e-commerce sites with the longest visitor times, Avon Products joined the top 10 ranks for the first time, with visitors staying an average of 10 minutes, 12 seconds.
The biggest winner for February was apparel retailer Forever 21, which jumped three places ahead in the ranking for customer engagement by adding 28 seconds to its desktop duration, reported Internet Retailer.
Two retailers who dropped out of the top 10 for the month include Rent the Runway and Fingerhut, which were replaced by Avon and Fire Mountain Gems. According to SimilarWeb’s digital manager Pavel Tuchinsky, Avon’s rise in display ad traffic accounted for the rise in visitors, who stayed longer on the site. Via fierceretail.com
E-commerce everywhere, all the time
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