Time to get caught up on the latest sales figures, new developments, Amazon-watching and the latest trends in US retail and e-commerce developments. Allan Haimes reports on key trends noted at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Annual Convention in New York City and the ICR Conference in Orlando. By 2017, Gartner says mobile commerce will generate 50% of sales in the US. Retail sales in the US increased modestly for the third month in a row according to a Bloomberg report. US Commerce Department said January retail sales were up 0.2%, apparel sales up 0.2%, appliance sales up 0.1%, sporting goods and hobby stores down 2.1% and online sales up 1.6%.
eBay announced ambitious plans to challenge Amazon in the e-commerce space as part of its turnaround strategy. After testing in the UK, Israel and recently in the US, Amazon seems ready to test its 30-minute delivery plans. Are other retailers ready for this or do they care? according to job postings in the San Diego area, Amazon is recruiting for a possible second retail bookstore. Rebecca Minkoff continues upending the fashion industry with more plans for fashion sales immediately following it’s spring collection unveiling. YouTube acquired San Francisco-based online music startup BandPage which sells digital music, digital tickets and music merchandise.
In Retail, It’s the Year of the Customer
Two of retail’s largest and most influential conferences were held in January 2016, though they happened to have taken place about 1,000 miles apart. The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Annual Convention in New York City, commonly known as “Retail’s BIG Show,” is where retail executives coalesce to discuss innovative ideas, share insights and learn about new technologies that will transform and innovate retail business.
Meanwhile, in Orlando, Florida, the ICR Conference, an annual institutional investor event, welcomed CEOs and CFOs of leading public and private companies in the retail and restaurant sectors to discuss recent holiday season results and share their outlook for the coming year. I had the opportunity to attend and present at both functions, so here are what I consider to be six of the key takeaways and trends from both meetings. Via marketingland.com
Gartner Says by 2017, US Customers’ Mobile Behavior Will Drive Mobile Commerce Revenue to 50% of US Digital Commerce Revenue
Rampant interest in mobile payments is expected by 2015, along with a significant increase in mobile commerce. Due to this, Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2017, U.S. customers’ mobile engagement behavior will drive mobile commerce revenue in the U.S. to 50 percent of U.S. digital commerce revenue. A recent Gartner survey found that mobile commerce currently generates 22 percent of digital commerce revenue.
“Some sectors will migrate more quickly than others to accepting mobile payments and promoting mobile commerce,” said Jennifer Polk, research director at Gartner. “For example, big-box retailers may not need to move as quickly as other industries because the in-store experience is still a critical part of their value proposition and the customer experience, making digital and mobile commerce a smaller portion of their overall revenue. However, new credit card standards will cause a shift in liability for fraudulent transactions in 2015, requiring retailers to update their point-of-sale systems for safer credit card transactions. This opens the door for point-of-updates to also accept mobile payment.” Via gartner.com
US Retail Sales Increased in January in Broad-Based Advance
Retail sales increased for a third straight month in January as Americans kicked off 2016 by spending freely on cars, clothing and online merchandise.
The 0.2 percent gain matched the previous month’s advance that was initially reported as a decline, Commerce Department data showed Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.1 percent increase in January. Excluding cheaper gasoline, which depressed service-station receipts, purchases climbed 0.4 percent. Via bloomberg.com
Retail sales increase in January, beating expectations
– Overall retail sales grew 0.2% in January, the third straight month of increases, according to the U.S. Commerce Department monthly sales report released Friday. Overall retail sales in December were revised up to a 0.2% gain from the previously reported 0.1%.
– Sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services rose 0.6% last month, beating expectations that ranged from a decline of 0.5% to a 0.4% rise, thanks to lower fuel prices that undercut gasoline sales although winter weather kept consumers eating in.
– Apparel sales rose 0.2%, electronics and appliance sales rose 0.1%, and sporting goods and hobby stores sales dropped 2.1%. General merchandise sales grew 0.8%, the most since May, and online sales grew 1.6%, according to the Commerce Department. Via retaildive.com
eBay Plans to Challenge Amazon, Announces Turnaround Strategy
eBay’s CEO Devin Wenig has announced an eBay turnaround strategy for the ecommerce company. At the Goldman Sachs Technology and Media Conference in San Francisco on Feb. 10, Wenig revealed that the company is thinking more as a merchandiser or retailer, instead of just an open marketplace.
“We’re changing from an unstructured to highly structured marketplace,” said Wenig. “The brilliance of eBay’s model is its greatest challenge. It’s a friction free marketplace, which means sellers can sell anything they want, and that makes it complicated.” Via smallbiztrends.com
3 Ways Drones Are Changing Amazon’s Business (AMZN)
With its widely anticipated drone delivery service, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) continues to push the technological boundaries of e-commerce. The same e-commerce giant that disrupted the retail industry with same-day delivery will soon turn it on its head with its 30-minute delivery capability. Just two years after announcing the new venture, Amazon is testing its drone delivery service in the United Kingdom, Israel and, just recently, in the United States.
Equipped with bleeding-edge drone technology, Amazon’s delivery bots are primed for action awaiting federal regulations that will clear the skies for takeoff. Soon they will begin to transform the way Amazon continues on its quest to dominate the world of e-commerce. You can be certain Amazon is already thinking beyond doorstep deliveries to varied uses for its drone technology. The following are a few ways drones are changing Amazon’s business. Via investopedia.com
Amazon’s bookstore buzz hits San Diego
Amazon is coming to town. But instead of catering to couch potatoes, the company is targeting people who prefer to browse or shop in actual stores. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant is hiring store managers, booksellers and gadget enthusiasts for an Amazon Books retail store in the “La Jolla or San Diego area,” according to multiple job listings posted online this month.
The job posts signal Amazon.com Inc.’s growing interest in the offline world, thus far a mostly untouched region for the company where it can extend its customer service prowess to face-to-face encounters, create shelf space for its growing lineup of hardware products and more efficiently handle returns. Via latimes.com
Rebecca Minkoff rewriting the rules of fashion
Uri and Rebecca Minkoff are used to being trendsetters. But when the brother-sister team made the bold choice to once again show their spring collection this February — a time that’s traditionally reserved for designers’ fall looks — they didn’t expect their decision would disrupt the industry so quickly.
Since the design duo said in December they would challenge fashion norms by holding runway shows timed with the current season (thereby allowing shoppers to immediately purchase these looks), designers including Tom Ford, Burberry and Misha Nonoo have followed suit.
What’s more, the Council of Fashion Designers of America trade organization retained the Boston Consulting Group to determine if there’s a better way to do business in a world of Instagram and fast fashion. But perhaps most importantly, they’ve accelerated the conversation that a change needs to be made. Via cnbc.com
YouTube Buys Bandpage and Doubles Down on Music
YouTube has acquired the San Francisco-based online music startup BandPage for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was announced on BandPage’s blog Friday: “BandPage is dedicated to helping musicians build their careers by growing their fan bases and increasing their revenue on the largest digital music services in the world. By joining forces with the team at YouTube, we can help artists reach their fans in more powerful ways than ever before.”
Google didn’t release any further comment, but the service’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl said in a tweet that he was “thrilled to welcome BandPage to YouTube.” BandPage allows bands and musicians to create profiles that are then used across the web, including on services like Vevo, SoundCloud, Facebook and Spotify. In addition to managing these profiles from one single location, BandPage also offers musicians a number of monetization options, including the sale of merchandise and tickets. Via variety.com
What’s ahead for retail?
It’s going to be a very interesting and challenging year in retail in the US and around the world. We’ll keep you up-to-date with regular reports from key markets. Your story ideas are always welcome and we’re easy to reach on our contact page.