ECOMMERCE

Crate and Barrel expands online assortment with new marketplace

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Move over Amazon Marketplace — Crate and Barrel is moving onto your turf.

Crate and Barrel has expanded its online assortment by launching its own marketplace, which it describes as a highly curated selection of products based on Crate and Barrel's merchandising style. Shoppers enter the marketplace directly from the retailer’s website.

The marketplace features unique products selected by the chain’s merchant partners. The site also displays additional product categories that complement Crate and Barrel's existing assortments, as well as exclusive products that will only be available on the new marketplace.

"By expanding our assortment, we will significantly increase the choices available to our consumers and offer them an extended aisle of curated products from the best designers and manufacturers from around the world,” said Doug Diemoz, CEO of Crate and Barrel. “All of the new products complement our existing product lines and uphold our commitment to quality, style, and customer service.”

Crate and Barrel partnered with RevCascade, a marketplace automation plat-form, in creating, launching and now maintaining its new marketplace. The company will work with Crate and Barrel to create a seamless integration be-tween the company and its sellers.

"We are thrilled to partner with such a renowned leader in the home space, and help Crate and Barrel broaden their e-commerce product offerings,” said Josh Wexler, co-founder and CEO of RevCascade. “As an innovative retailer, Crate and Barrel is addressing the consumer’s need for a vast, yet curated selection of merchandise, which we believe will further strengthen their position in the marketplace."

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ECOMMERCE

Study: Asia Pacific leads mobile cross-border shopping

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As retailers expand their operations beyond their domestic borders, many are finding new opportunities to connect with new shoppers.

This message was delivered in “PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2016,” a report from PayPal and Ipsos, a study that investigated the online domestic and cross-border shopping habits of more than 28,000 consumers in 32 countries.

Data revealed that 37% of shoppers in the Asia Pacific make cross-border purchases on a mobile device, the majority of which are on a smartphone. In fact, 68% of all cross-border shoppers in the Asia Pacific region reported making a cross-border purchase on a smartphone in the past 12 months.

In China, the survey saw a marked increase in the shift to mobile purchasing between 2015 and 2016, with an average of 35% of cross-border purchases being made on a smartphone in 2016 vs. 27% in 2015. If the growth in Asia Pacific is an indication of a global shift to increased mobile cross-border shopping, there is a tremendous opportunity for merchants in Europe and North America, especially as more shoppers plan to increase their budgets, the study said.

For example, 64% of Internet users in China, 39% of users in Russia, and 26% of users in the U.K. claimed that their online spending will increase in the next 12 months. Among all shoppers interviewed across all countries, those predicting to increase their online shopping are influenced by the convenience of shopping online (76%), changes in disposable income (30%), faster shipping (35%) and cheaper shipping (27%), the study added.

“Selling internationally is a substantial opportunity for merchants around the globe to grow their business. At PayPal, we’ve seen our cross-border volume grow 38% in the last two years, $14 billion a quarter in Q3 2014 to $19 billion a quarter in Q3 2016,” said Melissa O’Malley, director, global initiatives at PayPal. “PayPal's mobile payment volume is also up 56% over last year, so we see the direct benefits merchants can reap by optimizing their mobile shopping experiences.”

China shows even more growth in relation to being an online shopping destination. For the first time in the survey’s three-year history, China is the most popular cross-border online shopping destination for global online shoppers (21% of all online shoppers interviewed claimed to have shopped cross-border from Chinese websites in the past 12 months), followed by the U.S. (17%) and U.K. (13%).

Regardless of where they hail from, a majority of shoppers want a good deal, as 76% of global consumers said better prices were why they shop in another country instead of where they live. Gaining access to items not available in their own country was important to 65%, while 46% are attracted to free shipping, and 44% said they are attracted to secure payment transactions, the study reported.

The survey also urged retailers to take note of these factors to motivate a shopper who may have never shopped cross-border before, as a means of converting them.

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FINANCE

Staples Q3 revenue falls short

BY Marianne Wilson

Staples Inc. on Thursday reported earnings for its third quarter in line with its expectations but revenue fell short of forecasts as same-store sales fell.

Earnings came in at $179 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with $198 million, or 31 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted earnings came in at 34 cents a share.

Total company sales fell 4% to $5.4 billion in the quarter ended Oct. 29, missing estimates.

Same-store sales were down 4% in the period, more than the 3.2% decline analysts expected.

Total comparable sales, which combines same-store sales and Staples.com sales growth, and excludes currency impact, were down 3%. This decline was driven by weakness in ink and toner, business machines, technology accessories and mobility.

Staples has been working to restructure its business ever since it abandoned its proposed purchase of rival Office Depot in the face of roadblocks put up by the FTC.

“During the third quarter we pivoted from planning to execution of the Staples 20/20 strategic plan while delivering results that were right in-line with our expectations,” said Shira Goodman, CEO, Staples. “Staples 20/20 is a transformational change of our strategy, our mindset, and our operating model to reshape our company for sustainable long-term growth.”

Staples closed 16 additional stores in North America stores during the third quarter, bringing its total store closures to 35 so far this year. The retailer has said it intends to close at least 50 stores in North America by year-end. The company also announced a deal to sell its U.K. business to Hilco Capital.

"We are driving extreme focus by allocating more resources to the businesses where we have our strongest competitive advantages and de-emphasizing our under-performing businesses," Goodman said on the chain’s quarterly earnings conference call.

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