FINANCE

Report: M-commerce to reach $707 billion in 2018

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hampshire, U.K. – Annual retail payments on mobile handsets and tablets are expected to reach $707 billion by 2018, representing 30% of all e-retail by that time. According to a new Juniper Research report, “Mobile Payment for Digital & Physical Goods: Opportunities & Forecast 2014-2018,” this compares with mobile retail spend of $182 billion in 2012, when mobile accounted for around 15% of e-retail.

The report found that leading retailers were increasingly developing strategies built around mobile, using it as a ‘hub’ facilitating payment, product discovery and customer retention. As a result, the size and scale of purchases across both smartphones and tablets is increasing strongly. However, for users owning both devices there was a strong trend toward browsing on the mobile while completing the purchase on the tablet, and that by the end of 2013 global per month retail spend on tablets had eclipsed that on handsets.

The report also highlighted the increasing trend toward “showrooming,” where consumers examine retailer products in-store while simultaneously browsing on their mobile devices to compare prices online. It argued that retailers need to adapt their strategies to incorporate this activity, by deploying tablets equipped with mobile point-of-sale capability throughout the store, while also introducing a price match option. However, the report cautioned that while retailers were increasingly optimizing their sites for mobile handsets, only a small minority had done so for tablets.

Other findings from the report include that Cyber Monday in 2013 saw retail sales via mobiles and tablets approach $400 million in the U.S. alone, and that for digital goods purchases, storefronts that implement direct carrier billing solutions can monetize younger demographics and unbanked users for the first time.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: L.L. Bean, Amazon satisfy customers most during holiday

BY Dan Berthiaume

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Amazon.com and L.L. Bean tied for the highest company-level customer satisfaction scores during the 2013 holiday season. According to the ForeSee Experience Index: 2013 U.S. Retail Edition, Amazon and L.L. Bean both scored 90, while Priceline had the lowest company-level satisfaction score (75) of 100 top retailers included in the Index.

The study offers a comprehensive view of satisfaction at the company-level and across every applicable sales channel including store, contact center, web and mobile.

Key findings include:

  • Apple lost to the supermarket chain Publix Super Markets in Store satisfaction with a score of 86, three points higher than Apple’s score of 83.
  • While Amazon (88) led the pack for Web satisfaction, some retail sites such as Vitacost.com (86), Keurig.com (84) and LLbean.com (84) are creeping closer. Basspro.com (83) and Crateandbarrel.com (80) tied for the most improved sites with seven-point gains in customer satisfaction from last year.
  • Walmart (80) was the only company to experience a significant increase of more than three points in Mobile satisfaction, seeing a five-point improvement from 2012’s score. Again, Amazon led the pack with a mobile satisfaction score of 87.
  • QVC (88) beat Amazon (85) in contact center satisfaction by three points. Costco (85) and O’Reilly Auto Parts (85) tied Amazon in contact center satisfaction.
  • Almost half (49%) of people reported that the company they visited was one of several companies they considered equally when shopping.
  • The majority of customers (57%) were single-channel users with a satisfaction score of 82, and the remaining 43% who used two or more channels to engage with the company recorded a satisfaction score of 85.

“The results of ForeSee’s most comprehensive holiday report provide interesting insights into the holiday shopping experience,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “The data shows that customer loyalty for retailers is on the decline, yet consumers are satisfied with the top retail brands and had the best experience with retailers who mastered the multichannel experience. While Amazon continues to reign supreme across multiple channels, several retailers have identified critical drivers for increased sales and have made great strides to improve the multichannel customer experience, setting themselves up for success into 2014.”

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News

WhiteWave Foods appoints president for newly acquired organic business

BY CSA STAFF

The WhiteWave Foods Company has named Kevin C. Yost as president of the company’s newly acquired Earthbound Farm business. Charlie Sweat, previously CEO of Earthbound Farm, will move into an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition.

The rest of the Earthbound Farm management team will continue to serve in their current roles.

With the Jan. 2 completion of the Earthbound Farm acquisition, WhiteWave Foods said it will offer products across the most popular gateways for consumers to enter into the organic category — produce with Earthbound Farm and dairy with its established Horizon Organic brand.

As president of the organic brand, Yost will have full operational responsibility for the Earthbound Farm business. He will report to Gregg Engles, CEO and chairman at the WhiteWave Foods Company, and serve on the company’s executive leadership team.

Yost most recently worked with Saputo, a global CPG company in branded and private label foods and beverages. He has more than 22 years of CPG and food industry experience driving shareholder value at leading, multi-billion dollar companies, including Dean Foods’ Morningstar division, ConAgra Foods and Swift and Company.

“We are excited to have Kevin grow and lead the Earthbound Farm business and the company’s talent,” said Engles. “His deep experience leading companies through change, improving operations, leading product development, driving above-market revenue and earnings growth, and building winning cultures makes him the perfect leader for Earthbound Farm. We look forward to his contributions to build on the company’s success as we work together to change the way the world eats for the better.”

According to the company, Sweat is vacating the Earthbound Farm CEO spot after more than 15 years to pursue a variety of professional and personal ventures, including joining the board of directors of the nonprofit Global Green USA. Under his leadership, Earthbound Farm’s U.S. organic salad market share rose to 50% while the company’s organic sales grew from $10 million to more than $500 million.

“Charlie is a passionate leader who helped grow Earthbound Farm into a major player and influencer in the organic food industry and therefore a very attractive business to WhiteWave,” added Engles. “We look forward to benefiting from Charlie’s expertise during the transition in an advisory role, appreciate all that he has done to make the company a success, and wish him the same success as he takes on these new ventures.”

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