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New MasterCard report: Small retailer growth outpaces larger retailers for nine consecutive months

BY Marianne Wilson

Purchase, N.Y. — June spending at small retailers increased 8% in 2012 compared to June 2011, higher than the overall U.S. retail growth rate of 6.9%, according to a new SpendingPulse report issued by MasterCard Advisors in partnership with Wells Fargo. The same report also found that sales growth at small retailers has now outperformed growth of overall retail sales for nine consecutive months, since October 2011.

The report, MasterCard SendingPulse for Small Business, provides a new view gauging the health of sales within the small retailer segment of the economy, which are retailers with less than $35 million in annual sales and less than 200 employees — most have less than $10 million in annual sales. It offers aggregated information on retail sales trends that small business stakeholders can use to make informed and timely decisions.

“Small retailers account for approximately a third of total retail sales in the U.S., so a detailed understanding of this sector is crucial to understanding the economy as a whole,” said Michael McNamara, global solutions leader, MasterCard SpendingPulse.

The new report on small business is an extension of the MasterCard SpendingPulse report, a leading macro-economic indicator reporting on national retail sales, and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.

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Survey: Amazon is top mobile commerce partner

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — Amazon ranks as the coolest mobile or social affiliate program, according to a survey conducted by EPiServer, a provider of multichannel digital marketing and e-commerce software. The survey was conducted among CEOs, VPs, directors and e-commerce managers at more than 94 organizations including retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, catalogers, web-only merchants and local-retailers.

Forty-seven percent of respondents selected Amazon as the coolest mobile or social affiliate program they have seen to date, followed by eBay at 20%, and Shopkick and Wrapp each with 5%. When it comes to leveraging the partner relationships businesses require to thrive in today’s socially-enabled e-commerce landscape, Amazon surpasses eBay, Shopkick and Wrapp in popularity among industry leaders.

Despite the buzz surrounding mobile and social as the next frontiers in e-commerce, when asked in what platform they anticipate making the greatest investment in the next three to five years, 59% of respondents chose their website, 35% selected a mobile application and 22 % chose social networks.

“While e-commerce leaders appear to be making a greater investment in mobile and social platforms as a means for engaging with consumers and starting them on their way down the conversion funnel, the survey’s results demonstrate that e-commerce leaders continue to look to their website as a principal platform for completing the sale and achieving ROI,” said Bob Egner, VP product management and global marketing at EPiServer. “Our survey results show Amazon as the clear choice for mobile commerce and Facebook in social.”

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Foursquare launches free Local Updates tool for retailers to connect with customers

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Foursquare announced the release of Local Updates, a new way for retailers to connect with loyal customers when they are nearby. The free tool will allow retailers to offer deals and specials to users in the area that have previously “Liked” or checked-in at their establishment.

The tool allows retailers to geo-target on a granular level. Updates from retailers will begin appearing on the “Friends” news feed, starting Wednesday. Several nationwide businesses, including H&M, Togo’s Sandwiches and Outback Steakhouse, were scheduled to starting using Local Updates right after it became available.

For customers, Local Updates are an easy way to keep up with news from places they frequent, including new specials, pictures of the latest shipment of shoes, or a serendipitous food truck appearance, Foursquare said.

For more, click here.

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