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Millennials: Social media crucial; Instagram is ‘must-have’ app

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Social media delivers more than wish-list window shopping — it is, essentially, a social-purchasing path for young women that leverages each platform’s strength and point of engagement to enhance the shopping process, according to a survey by Teen Vogue. And according to respondents, the future belongs to Instagram. It is the platform most cited as the one that "everyone will be talking about next year," and the clear must-have app this year.

The “Seeing Social" survey reveals that for Millennials, social media is a path within a path to buy — the multichannel shopper now uses social media to do more than just share. She actively participates in the content created not just by peers but also by marketers to inform her purchasing decisions.

Eighty-five percent of respondents have been driven to purchase something after seeing it on a social media network — but the storefront of a posting is just the beginning. Young women take a three-part path on social before transaction:

1. See It: Instagram is the number one platform that inspires respondents to purchase.

2. Search It: When respondents find a fashion or beauty brand they like on social media, they search YouTube videos of how best to wear or apply the product (52%).

3. Shop It: Before purchase, they engage in "comparison shopping" on social media platforms. By platform, top behaviors include the following:

• Find additional product images: Pinterest (48%)
• Read reviews and recommendations: YouTube (43%)
• Seek out sales/deals: Facebook (36%)

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Z Gallerie deploys Oracle Commerce to improve online conversion, basket size

BY Marianne Wilson

Boston — Furniture and home décor retailer Z Gallerie has deployed Oracle Commerce to improve conversion and basket size.

In August 2013, Z Gallerie went live with Oracle Commerce, resulting in more relevant content, improved navigation and better ease-of-use regardless of the device customers use to access the site. The full implementation was completed quickly and sales from on-site search have dramatically increased.

Using the solution, the retailer has expanded the products available on its e-commerce site and delivered better content, improved navigation and ease-of-use for store associates and customers alike. As a result of the Oracle Commerce deployment, Z Gallerie has seen a strong rise in sales on items searched.

“We’re seeing a lot more engagement on our category pages. Prior to implementing Oracle Commerce, only 40 percent of our visitors would hit a product page. That number has increased significantly leading to more site conversions and increased sales,” said Kerem Ozkay, eCommerce marketing analyst, Z Gallerie.

Z Gallerie worked with Cirrus 10, a Gold-level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork, to go live rapidly on Oracle Commerce. The retailer already was using Oracle Database throughout its enterprise before expanding the footprint with Oracle Commerce. The recent implementation offers the potential for integration with other Oracle solutions in the future.

“Everyone has been talking about omni-channel, and that’s something we embrace as well. Oracle is the right choice because we strive to bring the web, the tablet, the mobile phone, and the in-store experience together for our associates and our customers,” said Howard Kolodny, CIO, Z Gallerie.

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Report: Bribe probe cost Wal-Mart $439 million

BY Staff Writer

New York — Wal-Mart Stores spent $439 million during the past two years to investigate the possible payment of foreign bribes, Bloomberg reported, making it ranks as one of the most expensive probes in U.S. history.

Wal-Mart spent $282 million in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31 and $157 million the previous year, and expenses will continue to rise, according to an annual report filed March 21. On Feb. 20, Wal-Mart projected FCPA probe and compliance costs would be $200 million to $240 million for fiscal 2015.

“While we believe that it is probable that we will incur a loss from these matters, given the ongoing nature and complexity of the review, inquiries and investigations, we cannot reasonably estimate any loss or range of loss that may arise from these matters,” according to the filing, Reuters reported.

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