FINANCE

Desktop-based e-commerce spending up 12%

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Reston, Va. — A report by comScore showed that, in the first quarter, desktop-based e-commerce rose 12% year-over-year to $56.1 billion, marking the 18th consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and 14th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

M-commerce spending on smartphones and tablets added $7.3 billion for the quarter, up 23%, for a digital commerce spending total of $63.4 billion in the first quarter.

"Q1 e-commerce and m-commerce spending growth have seen a modest acceleration versus the fourth quarter, which is a positive sign in light of overall softness in consumer discretionary spending across the broader U.S. economy during the early part of the year," said comScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni. "As we look ahead to the remainder of 2014, we hope that signs of improved consumer sentiment and a strengthening job market will help further bolster digital commerce.”

Other highlights from comScore’s first-quarter report include:

• The top-performing online product categories were: Apparel & Accessories, Consumer Packaged Goods, Sport & Fitness, Digital Content & Subscriptions, and Home & Garden. Each category grew at least 13% vs. year ago.

• Desktop E-commerce accounted for 11.7% of consumers’ discretionary spending, the highest first quarter share on record.

• Of the additional $7.3 billion in mobile commerce, purchasing using smartphones accounted for 62% vs. 38% from tablets.

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FINANCE

Abercrombie CEO pay drops 72% on falling profits

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch Co. CEO Michael Jeffries saw his pay shrink 72% in 2013, according to a filing by the company on Tuesday.

The teen retailer has recorded declining sales and profits, and Jeffries has come under fire. His total compensation last year was $2.24 million, down from $8.16 million in the previous year and $48.1 million in Abercrombie’s fiscal 2011. He was paid more than $20 million a year in the three years before that, according to the report.

Earlier in 2014, Abercrombie stripped Jeffries of his chairman role, created a new COO job and named four new independent directors to its board as part of a deal with investor Engaged Capital.

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Julep Beauty redefines subscription box

BY CSA STAFF

Julep Beauty has unveiled its first fully customizable monthly beauty box subscription. Beginning this month, subscribers to the Julep Maven service can create their own personalized mix of products for their boxes, choosing from among 2 million possible combinations of full-size beauty products and limited-batch nail polishes.

Julep is redefining the notion of "subscription" where customers sign up, give up their credit cards and receive a selection of products each month chosen per the brand’s schedule. Julep is enabling customers to choose exactly which products they’d like to receive in their subscription boxes. Subscribers will be able to choose from innovative new products or Julep bestsellers, discovering the latest in skincare, color cosmetics and nail colors.

"We want women to engage with us each month," said Jane Park, CEO and founder of Julep. "With this new service, we’re bringing the beauty counter experience to our community of Maven subscribers; letting them actively engage in product selection so they receive exactly the combination of monthly products that works for them."

During a window of five days every month, Maven subscribers are invited to view the newest products, discuss on Julep’s active social communities online, and then make their own personalized selection of products for inclusion in their boxes. This engagement subscription model lets shoppers come together at "a moment in time" to share their opinions and feedback.

"For beauty enthusiasts, the monthly Maven window is like the lead up to the Oscars," said Park. "It’s a time when our community comes together, posts questions and comments on Facebook, reaches out to others on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and makes and changes their selections in real-time, in part based on what they learn from us and each other. We’re only able to do this because we’re a full-stack beauty company. Since we own the entire customer experience from product development through to fulfillment, we can let customers choose from the more than 300 new products we launch every year, including the best of what we’ve launched to date."

"Julep has always been a company using the power the Web to revolutionize retail, combining the Web’s ability to enable 1:1 personalization with proprietary insights into the latest beauty trends," said Jason Stoffer, partner at Maveron, an investor in Julep. "Julep is the first e-commerce company to offer a fully customizable monthly subscription box, combining innovation in real-time distribution, personalization, and social engagement together to offer a totally new type of subscription service that blows the old ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ model out of the water."

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