MOBILITY

First look: Adobe says digital trends look good for Mother’s Day

BY CSA STAFF

Online consumers appear to be remembering Mom this year.

According to new data from the Adobe Digital Index, online sales in the important Mother’s Day gift categories of flowers/gifts and jewelry are both trending 2%-3% higher than they were in 2015.

For the week of May 1, U.S. consumers had spent $63.4 million online in the flowers/gifts category through Wednesday, May 4, and are expected to spend a total of $95 million by week’s end. So far, the peak online spending day of the week in this product area was Wednesday, May 4, with $20.1 million. Forty-seven percent of digital flowers/gifts visits and 23% of sales were conducted via mobile device.

In the jewelry category the same week, $33.5 million had been spent online through Wednesday, May 4, with a total of $48 million expected to be spent through the week. Online jewelry sales also peaked on Wednesday, May 4 at $9.6 million. Mobile devices accounted for 52% of digital visits to jewelry retailers and 39% of transactions.

In an interview with Chain Store Age, Tyler White, senior manager of data science for Adobe Index, said Mother’s Day online sales patterns are generally similar to 2015, with peak volumes occurring on Wednesday of Mother’s Day week. However, both overall online sales and their mobile share are up.

“Despite stagnant offline sales, there has been a little bit of growth in e-commerce sales every year since 2008,” said White. “Initially the catalyst was consumers looking for low prices online after the recession.”

However, offline and online prices are now fairly consistent and consumers are shopping online more because it is convenient and they are used to it.”

Mobile sales, which accounted for up to half of digital sales volume during the peak 2015 holiday shopping period, are also growing due to the convenience factor.

“Consumers don’t want to have to go out to buy stuff,” said White. “Mobile devices are something everybody now carries with them, and they can make a purchase wherever they are.”

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ECOMMERCE

Tech Bytes: Three Ways Gen Z Will Change Retail

BY CSA STAFF

Everyone is talking about the huge impact millennials are having on retail. Also known as Gen Y, they are usually considered to occupy the 18-to-35 age demographic. But what about Gen Z, the younger siblings (or even children) of millennials?

Based on what we’ve seen so far, here are three ways Gen Z will change retail in the next few years.

Video Killed the Retail Star
Gen Z engages with what they see as a truly seamless physical-virtual environment via video. Consider this recent Chain Store Age commentary from Jill Standish, senior managing director of retailer for Accenture Consulting.

“Gen Z get their inspiration from YouTube,” Standish said. "How do you leverage that? Video will become a means of buying goods, rather than an influencer as it still mostly is today.”

Some retailers have already begun offering shoppable videos, and YouTube now offers transactional functionality direct from its video platform. In the future, however, retailers will need to more fully integrate video into stores, mobile apps, and all other customer touchpoints, including the POS.

Community Organizers
Gen Z consumers trust each other much more than they trust brands or retailers. This means that third-party online marketplaces which connect individual buyers and sellers will become much more important in the near future.

However, established digital retail platforms should not sit back and wait for the Gen Z revenues to roll in. A perfect example of the type of retailing community preferred by the next generation of consumers is Sneakmart.

Founded by a 17-year-old “sneakerhead” entrepreneur Anthony Debrantt, Sneakmart lets online and mobile consumers buy, sell and trade new and used sneakers. However, Sneakmart serves as more than just a storefront. The platform also lets users share information and content.

“While the platform functions as a marketplace, our long-term vision is to create a social experience that encourages sneaker lovers to interact with one another and contribute content, stories and more," stated Debrantt.

Being a successful “retailer” will have less to do with having any actual physical inventory or infrastructure and more with building a community that connects consumers with the products they want and each other. Traditional retailers will need to tap into this developing shopper zeitgeist by either launching or participating in these communities.

Departing Department Stores
It’s no secret that department stores have been having a tough go of it recently, with many major chains reporting disappointing fiscal performance or even shuttering stores. The attitudes of Gen Z suggest these developments are an omen of things to come.

Although some department stores offer in-store video experiences and others operate well-developed social networks, the model simply does not lend itself to Gen Z sensibilities. Department stores offer too broad a range of merchandise to create a true sense of community around a specific interest or product. And the need to satisfy a wide range of shoppers limits how “cool” the store experience can truly be.

By attempting to satisfy everybody, department stores may find themselves satisfying nobody. Long-term survival may require scaling back on assortment and offering smaller brick-and-mortar storefronts that rely more on digital and video components and less on physical space and merchandise to connect consumers with products.

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C-SUITE

Beauty retailer expands management team

BY Marianne Wilson

Birchbox has added two new executives to enhance the customer experience, hiring VPs in product management and creative.

Terre Layton was named global VP of product management and user experience, responsible for global product management, the product strategy and roadmap, and the user experience. She most recently worked at Sephora, where she served as head of front-end product management and led strategic digital innovation projects. She has also consulted for several beauty retailers and e-commerce companies.

In addition, Fran Gaitanarous was named as VP of creative, overseeing all visual design elements — from pattern creation, monthly box designs and in-store signage to on-site design and photography — to create a cohesive, evolved look and feel for the brand.

Most recently, Gaitanarous was design director for online home furnishings retailer One Kings Lane.

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