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Ethan Allen will use Demandware’s global commerce capabilities to grow online presence

BY Marianne Wilson

Burlington, Mass. — Demandware announced Ethan Allen Interiors will leverage the Demandware Commerce platform as the digital foundation of its global expansion strategy.

Ethan Allen recently launched its first site on the Demandware platform in Canada to coincide with the grand opening of its first Design Center in Montreal. Ethan Allen plans to re-launch its U.S. e-commerce site with Demandware in 2013 in addition to site launches in other countries, including Europe, to support its new design center in Brussels.

“We are focused on growing our global business by generating awareness for our brand including where we do not yet have brick and mortar locations.” said Farooq Kathwari, chairman and CEO of Ethan Allen. “Our expanded online presence, powered by Demandware, will help us reach more customers to raise awareness of the Ethan Allen brand, while also driving traffic into our international Design Centers. With Demandware, we can roll out sites quickly across the globe and deliver the high level of customer service for which Ethan Allen is known.”

Beyond the capabilities that enable global operations on a single instance, the new Ethan Allen sites will incorporate a number of features to enhance the shopping experience. Each country specific site will also provide local currency pricing and offer multiple language options for the customer.

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ShopperTrak: Foot traffic up 3.7% year-over-year for post-Thanksgiving week

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — A report on Wednesday from ShopperTrak showed that retail foot traffic increased 3.7% and sales increased 2.3% year-over-year for the week beginning Nov. 25, ending Dec. 1.

This represented a 28.8% decline in traffic and 22.4% decline in sales from the 2012 Black Friday shopping week.

According to ShopperTrak, this sharp decline in retail foot traffic and sales is typical of the week following Thanksgiving. Shoppers may visit stores for Black Friday promotions, but often stay at home the following week as they assess current budgets and create new shopping lists.

"The holiday season has just begun,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “Black Friday shopping remains an American tradition — and consumers took advantage of promotions the entire week this year. Many usually scale back their in-store visits around this time in favor of online shopping for Cyber Monday deals. We expect consumers to return to stores in increasing numbers to complete their holiday shopping in the coming weeks."

With 20 more shopping days left before Christmas, shoppers have two full weeks and three weekends to make their lists and check them twice this holiday season. Some may wait for retailers to reduce prices prior to Christmas for last-minute deals. As a result, ShopperTrak predicts the week before Christmas — week of Dec. 16 — to be the largest retail sales week of the year.

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B.Low says:
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U.S. online holiday spending surpasses $21 billion to date

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Reston, Va. — Online holiday spending reached $21.4 billion for first 32 days of the November-December shopping season, up 14% year-over-year, according to comScore.

The most recent week saw three individual days eclipse $1 billion in spending, led by Cyber Monday, which became the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.46 billion. However, growth rates softened considerably in the wake of Cyber Monday and through the weekend.

“While Cyber Monday was a high point for holiday e-commerce spending and Cyber Week saw several strong spending days, there was a clear softening in the growth rate during the back half of the week,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “It is likely that, to some extent, holiday spending was pulled forward to the Thanksgiving-Black Friday period given the heightened promotional activity around that time. And some of the softening is a natural post-Cyber Monday lull that we often experience, an effect that may be somewhat more pronounced this year given the additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Thus far in the season, spending growth is being driven both by an increase in the number of buyers (up 9% to 128.7 million) and the average spending per buyer (up 5% to $165.90), according to the comScore research. The increase in spending per buyer is coming primarily from an increase in the number of transactions (up 4% to 2.19 per buyer) as opposed to the amount spent per transaction (up only 1% to $75.90).

“That we are seeing growth come from an increase in both the number of buyers and the average spending per buyers suggests broad-based strength in the e-commerce sector,” added Fulgoni. “It reflects not only the health of the e-commerce channel as more people buy online, but also the health of the consumer who has been willing to spend more online this year than last.”

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