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Catalog Spree introduces in-app beauty department

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Altos, Calif. – Catalog Spree has launched a new beauty department in its mobile shopping app with lookbooks for retailers including Sephora, Beauty.com, Avon, Bliss, and The Body Shop. Catalog Spree’s full-page lookbooks let consumers browse and shop by flipping through pages on an iPad or iPhone.

The app features more than 350 custom lookbooks, as well as traditional digital catalogs. Catalog Spree says the lookbooks have 50% more page clickthroughs than a traditional digital catalog.

"Many e-commerce retailers, especially those in beauty, don’t print or have limited distribution of traditional paper catalogs due to costs,” said Joaquin Ruiz, CEO of Catalog Spree. “With Spree Studio, Catalog Spree is removing that barrier by easily creating gorgeous digital lookbooks that deliver an engaging shopping experience. We’re constantly striving to delight mobile shoppers with fun, high-quality content, so adding top beauty brands to Catalog Spree was a no-brainer, especially when you consider that almost 70% of our shoppers are women.”

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Report: Indie bookstores rebound

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta – Independent bookstores are reportedly growing sales at a healthy rate despite stiff competition from Amazon.com. According to an article in Fortune, American Booksellers Association figures show that independent bookstore sales in the U.S. grew 8% last year and are on track to grow at a similar pace this year.

Independent bookstores are competing with Amazon using strategies such as personalized recommendations from store employees rather than from automated tracking software. In addition, the stores, which generally cannot compete with Amazon on price, frequent offer community events and café sections to provide a destination for customers. They also often operate their own e-commerce businesses.

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Deloitte: U.S. holiday sales to rise 4% to 4.5%

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Holiday sales are expected to climb to between $963 and $967 billion, representing a 4% to 4.5% increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) this year from last year’s season, according to the new Deloitte holiday sales forecast. The growth rate is on par with last year’s 4.5% gain.

In addition, Deloitte forecasts a 12.5 to 13% increase in non-store sales. Nearly three-quarters of non-store sales result from the online channel with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.

Deloitte also anticipates that mobile-influenced retail store sales will account for 8%, or $66 billion, in retail store sales this holiday season, driven by consumers’ store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or mobile application use.

"We anticipate non-store sales growth will continue to surpass overall retail sales growth," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail & Distribution sector leader. “In addition, shoppers researching their purchases electronically, via their PC, tablet or mobile phone, are increasingly influencing in-store sales, particularly as we see greater integration across retailers’ store, online and mobile channels. More retailers are offering services such as ‘buy online and pick up in store,’ as well as inventory from other locations and price matching on the spot. The store is still a core element of holiday shopping, and retailers leading the way this season will be those that effectively bring together their pricing, promotions, merchandise and inventory management across both their physical and digital storefronts."

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