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PayPal launches small business tool

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Jose, Calif. — PayPal has launched PassPort, a website designed to provide small businesses with free tools to expand their global sales. PassPort provides country-specific guidance on seasonal sales peaks; shipping and distribution logistics; currency exchange and fees; and customs procedures and taxes.

In addition to holiday-specific content, PassPort presents buying and selling patterns around the globe and across key corridors. PassPort helps businesses start selling internationally quickly via direct links to eBay Marketplace tools.

“Small business owners know that reaching a global market can exponentially increase their sales, but many aren’t sure where to start,” said Carey Kolaja, VP, global product solutions, PayPal. “In 2013, global trade accounted for approximately 25% of PayPal’s total payment volume, so we understand the challenges and opportunities of international trade. We designed PassPort with our international insights to help small businesses tap into global sales opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible.”

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WibiData introduces personalization platform

BY Dan Berthiaume

SAN FRANCISCO — Big Data personalization provider WibiData has launched WibiRetail, a new software platform designed for retailers to rapidly deploy algorithmically-driven personalized shopping experiences. WibiRetail provides intent-aware commerce applications that use in-the-moment data to determine whether a consumer is shopping for herself, a family member or a partner.

It also helps retailers deliver discovery and browsing experiences that engage consumers with media and editorial content that appeals to their unique tastes and preferences, as well as email and mobile marketing offers that reflect consumers’ current behavior and context.

“Retailers are no longer competing against just themselves, but also against the experiences that consumers have grown to love from Google, Facebook, and Twitter,” said Garrett Wu, founder and CTO, WibiData. “In order to compete with these experiences, companies must make a shift to big data and analytics techniques pioneered by these technology giants. We built WibiRetail to solve this problem, empowering retailers to move beyond stale batch analysis and segmentation and into the era of experimentation, big data and real-time machine learning for true one-to-one experiences with their customers.”

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Lands’ End finds a lot to like after Sears split

BY CSA STAFF

Newly separated from Sears Holdings, Lands’ End reported respectable sales growth during a first quarter that saw it vow to become a global lifestyle brand.

Lands’ End completed its separation from Sears on April 4 and for the quarter ended May 2 said its sales increased 3.6% to $330.5 million, driven by a 4.8% increase in the direct segment offset by a 2.3% decrease in the retail segment. Profits increased 48.1% to $10.9 million, or 34 cents a share, compared to $7.3 million, or 23 cents a year the prior year.

"We are very pleased with our first quarter results and our progress towards growing the business and building Lands’ End into a global lifestyle brand,” said Edgar Huber, Lands’ End president and CEO. “We are encouraged by the positive customer response to our merchandising and marketing strategies and remain focused on improving the contemporary relevance of the Lands’ End brand. Despite a very challenging retail apparel environment, we drove strong earnings growth through an improved merchandise assortment architecture, more targeted promotions, improved inventory management and continued expense controls.

Huber said the company was excited to be operating again as an independent public company and asserted that Lands’ End is well positioned to execute against its strategic initiatives to drive sales and earnings growth.

Lands’ End may be separated from Sears, but the brand can thank the retailer for contributing to overall results as the 251 Land’s End shops inside Sears stores contributed to a 3.4% same store sales increase in the retail segment.

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