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Report: Online beauty consumers not very loyal to retailers

BY Marianne Wilson

Digital shoppers enthusiasm for buying beauty products online doesn’t translate into retailer loyalty.

While online sellers of beauty and personal care products continue to capture more market share, online shopper loyalty seems to be elusive, according to report by A.T. Kearney.

"The study, which is based on a survey of 800 American online beauty shoppers, finds that 67% of consumers use four or more websites to fulfill their shopping needs," said Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and author of the study. The results indicate that both brands and retailers who sell beauty products online need to rethink how they build stronger loyalty from consumers.

Some key findings of the report include:

Supply is shaping demand: The growth of e-commerce sales is a direct product of increasingly more sophisticated supply-side strategies.

"Influencers" are on the rise: Consumers are increasingly trusting "people like them" to make purchasing decisions — undermining the brand authority as the only source of information.

Shoppers seeking greater engagement: Beauty consumers are calling for a higher level of personalization from their preferred brands.

"The growing challenge of loyalty, the daily demand on retailers and brands to deliver a seamless experience between online and offline, and the need to 'give up some power' to new sources of influence are indicators of the current state of the beauty industry," Ben-Shabat said. "Succeeding in this new environment will require an artful integration of all channels, and adoption of new technologies to enhance personalization and authentic communication."

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Turnover in Sears’ CFO suite continues

BY Marianne Wilson

Sears Holdings has a new finance chief — again.

The struggling retailer announced that Rob Riecker, currently controller and head of capital market activities, has been appointed CFO, effective immediately. He replaces Jason Hollar, who resigned “to pursue another career opportunity,” the retailer said. Hollar was appointed to the role in October 2016.

Riecker joined Sears in 2005 as assistant controller and served in various senior positions within the company's Finance organization.

"Rob is a strong leader with significant institutional knowledge through his 11 year tenure with the company. Rob's financial acumen, as well as his long-standing relationships with our vendor and lender partners make him highly qualified for the role,” stated Edward Lampert, chairman and CEO, Sears Holdings.

Hollar is the fifth member of Sears’ senior management team to depart the company in the last four months, with the most recent being John Moore, who had served as head of Sears retail services.

The turnover comes as the chain struggles to restructure its operations and reduce costs.

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Retailers increase spending on lobbying efforts

BY CSA STAFF

Retailers concerned over the pending border-adjusted tax have boosted their lobbying efforts in Washington.

Target Corp., Gap Inc., and Best Buy Co. Inc. spent nearly $3.2 million combined on lobbying during the quarter – as opposed to just $830,000 in the same period a year ago – according to federal lobbying disclosures filed Thursday, Bloomberg reported, while Wal-Mart spent almost $2.2 million in the first quarter, an increase of $140,000 over the same time last year.

Both the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association have strongly denounced the proposed tax.

“No other issue galvanized the industry like this one,” Brian Dodge, RILA’s senior executive VP of public affairs, said earlier this month, the report said. “Until the sponsors declare it dead, we will continue to fight against it.”

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