IBM sees strong online holiday for retailers
Armonk, N.Y. — Online retailers can expect a strong holiday shopping season. According to the latest IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark data, which analyzes online transactions from more than 800 retailers in the U.S., retail sales were up 16% in October and 11% in the first week of November (Nov. 1-Nov. 7) compared to the same period last year.
Department stores have reason for optimism as online sales are up 110% year-over-year for the first week in November. In addition, mobile shopping continues to surge. The mobile percentage of online sales increased more than 43% year-over-year for the first week of November to 14% of all online sales.
According to the report, shoppers are poised to be on the hunt for bargains, discounts, and retailer coupons, using their favorite apps to cash in on savings. This trend holds true the first week in November, where average order value was down 4%, yet online sales rose 11% over the same week in 2012.
In other findings:
- Consumers continue to look to their smartphones for retail browsing (19.56% of total online traffic), tablet shoppers (12.10%) are the ones cashing in. Average order value for tablet sales was 14.6% higher than that of smartphones in the first week of November but they converted three times more than smartphone users. Tablet shoppers spent on average $117.97 per order, as compared to $102.99 per order for smartphone shoppers.
- As consumers continue to explore the shopping potential of social media sites, Facebook and Pinterest rise to the top. Pinterest users had an average order value of $136.17 the first week in November, while Facebook users spent an average of $54.88. But the real story lies in how well these sites convert browsers into buyers – and Facebook wins the conversion competition – converting four times higher than Pinterest shoppers.
Amazon teams up with U.S. Postal Service for Sunday deliveries
New York — Amazon is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sunday, with the service starting this week in the Los Angeles and New York metro areas. The online giant plans to roll out the service to additional markets, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix, in 2014.
Amazon Prime members, who receive unlimited, free two-day shipping, are eligible for the service.
“If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can order a backpack for your child on Friday and be packing it for them Sunday night,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s VP of worldwide operations and customer service. “We’re excited that now every day is an Amazon delivery day and we know our Prime members, who voraciously shop on Amazon, will love the additional convenience they will experience as part of this new service.”
“As online shopping continues to increase, the Postal Service is very happy to offer shippers like Amazon the option of having packages delivered on Sunday,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO. “With this new service, the Postal Service is now delivering packages seven days a week in select cities. Customers can expect the same reliable and valued service that the Postal Service currently provides.”
Charming Charlie’s exec named VP chief merchant of Dressbarn
Suffern, N.Y. — Ascena Retail Group announced that Judith Langley has joined dressbarn as executive VP and chief merchandising officer.
Langley brings to Dressbarn extensive experience as a senior merchant and in product development. Most recently, she was executive VP and chief merchandising officer with Charming Charlie’s, a jewelry and accessories chain.
Previously, she was senior VP of design and trend at Kohl’s, where she oversaw product direction for 15 brands.
“Judi’s track record as a successful merchant with design expertise will be a tremendous asset to Dressbarn,” said Jeff Gerstel, president of Dressbarn. “I am pleased to welcome Judi to Dressbarn’s team and look forward to the leadership, creativity, and vision she will bring to our brand’s transformation.”
Games, giveaways, book signings and personalized recommendations will be offered as part of “Discovery Friday,” event Barnes & Noble has planned for Nov. 22 to pre-empt the doorbuster madness that will occur the following week on Black Friday.
All of the retailer’s stores nationwide will participate in the Discovery Friday event which Barnes & Noble said was created to serve as the official launch of the holiday shopping season and help customers experience the thrill of discovering the perfect gifts for friends and family. On Discovery Friday, Barnes & Noble’s said its booksellers will be on the front lines to provide personalized recommendations at its nearly 700 stores, an experience that Amazon.com can’t rival.
“Barnes & Noble offers the ultimate holiday shopping experience for customers who enjoy the art of discovery, appreciate the human touch and recognize that the best recommendations don’t come from an algorithm,” said Mitchell Klipper, CEO of the Barnes & Noble Retail Group. “Discovery Friday shines a light on our 40,000 booksellers, undeniably our greatest asset, and also celebrates our customers by bringing the spirit of fun and discovery to their holiday shopping experience.”