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Pinterest reaches out to retailers with API

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The hot social-sharing site Pinterest has released its first API for developers. It will help stores and brands display which of their items were most frequently and recently pinned. The first partners for the service include Zappos, Walmart, Disney, and Nestle, reflecting how the site is looking to increase revenue generation with advertising and cross-marketing. (An API, short for application programming interface, is code that allows developers to create apps that interface with a popular web service or other software.)

“We’re releasing documentation for multiple APIs that will roll out to partners over the coming weeks,” the company said on its blog. “These will include Top Pins API (showcase top clicked pins / top re-pins, launching on partner sites today); Domain search (surface trending results for keywords such as “Men’s Boots,” “Thanksgiving recipes,” or “Fashion Week”); Most Recent (bring a stream of your latest pins to your site); and Related Pins (suggest other pins people may like based on the item or content they’re viewing).

Going forward, Pinterest said, it will give sites more ways to mash up their data, like most-recent and related pins, and to add information about which items and keywords are trending on Pinterest into their search engines.

In the coming weeks, Pinterest will release additional API endpoints that will surface different groups of Pins on partner sites. In addition to Walmart, Target and Zappos, early adopters include AllRecipes, Better Homes and Garden, BuzzFeed, Disney sites Babble and BabyZone, Elle Magazine, Mashable, ModCloth, NBC News Digital’s iVillage.com, Nestlé, Random House, Snapguide, Wayfair, Whole Foods, Zulily and on the soon-to-launch Spoonful and Tastebook.

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Report: E-commerce spreads across the enterprise

BY Dan Berthiaume

Walnut Creek, Calif. – Retailers increasingly see e-commerce as a cross-channel or omni-channel functions, rather than as a standalone process. According to the new RSR Research E-Commerce Benchmark Report 2013, 68% of retailers strongly agree or agree that the future of online commerce lies more with cross-channel or merged capabilities, with another 21% having neutral feelings and only 11% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

In addition, 66% of retailers strongly agree or agree that their e-commerce platform will become their digital platform across all channels. Twenty-five percent are neutral, and only 9% disagree or actively disagree. Other notable findings include:

  • Retailers see uncertain consumer demand (47%) and maintaining growth rates (46%) as the top business challenges to e-commerce.
  • Cost-effective shipping and fulfillment (51%), understanding how different consumer segments engage (49%) and optimizing inventory deployment across all channels (45%) are the most popular operational e-commerce challenges.
  • Retailers identify the top three opportunities to overcome e-commerce challenges as improving search and browse capabilities (48%), improving fulfillment processes (36%) and providing richer product detail such as photo and video (35%).
  • Twenty-one percent of respondents have already implemented their e-commerce platform as the company’s POS system and as the mobile platform.

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Report: Amazon has best price 80% of the time

BY Dan Berthiaume

Ottawa, Canada – Amazon.com has the best price on products in its assortment about 80% of the time. However, the new “Amazon Holiday Pricing Insights” analysis from pricing technology provider 360pi shows that Amazon does have weak spots, and that retailers can compete with the online giant, especially if they can beat Amazon on other non-price purchase factors.

For example, once Home Depot decided to be price competitive on Oct. 26, they were instantly and dynamically able to beat Amazon prices on power drills. Meanwhile, tablets and televisions are the categories where a majority of retailers are either price competitive or closer to the mark than other categories, such as printers and video games, which show the least amount of price competitiveness.

Top retailers such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Sears and Costco are less than 5% more, or better priced, than Amazon in televisions, for example. During the Oct. 16 – Nov. 14 period, Amazon had the lowest-priced tablets 68% of the time, which means retailers are currently beating Amazon with lower tablet prices 32% of the time.

“Given that our holiday reports are based on products drawn from Amazon’s own assortment, you would expect them to be price competitive,” said Alexander Rink, CEO, 360pi. “What is interesting is that when you factor in different retail competitive strategies like carrying a different assortment, leveraging private label, delivering targeted customer promotions, and creating unique customer experiences in addition to price leadership, it certainly appears that retailers are learning how to compete with Amazon.”

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