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The single biggest shopping day in the world is almost here

BY Marianne Wilson

Singles' Day, a festival that started in China some 20 years ago to celebrate being single, is fast approaching. And the country’s e-commerce giant is pulling out all the stops this year.

Alibaba has turned the day, which falls on Nov. 11 every year, into a 24-hour online shopping blitz with deep, deep discounts on a wide range of goods. The online company named Katy Perry as the global ambassador for this year’s event. The American singer is scheduled to perform at a celebratory concert in Shenzhen, China, the day before the sale.

Alibaba is expected to generate $20 billion in sales on Singles' Day this year, up from $14.3 billion last year, according to Fung Global Retail and Technology, Business Insider reported.

This year, many American retailers will participate in Singles Day, including Macy’s, Target and Starbucks.

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Report: Online retail sales to hit $440 billion in 2017

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Online growth — and along with it, online market share — continues to accelerate.

The trajectory is so strong that sales are on pace to hit $440 billion in 2017, a leap from $395 billion expected in 2016, according to “U.S. Online Sales Forecast: Omni-Channel Retailing Challenged by Its Success,” a report from FTI Consulting.

Online retail sales growth has accelerated slightly in the past year to just over 14%. While growth will moderately slow to 11.4% next year, this volume eclipses anticipated store-based sales that will range between 2% and 3%, the report said.

As expected, online-only retailers, predominantly Amazon.com, are taking an increasing share of total online sales despite the success to date of many omnichannel retailers — those with a combination of traditional retail stores, online stores or other shopping channels, the report explained.

“For each marginal sales dollar that migrates away from stores to the online channel today, only about $0.68 stays within the traditional retail ecosystem,” said Christa Hart, senior managing director in the retail and consumer products practice within FTI Consulting’s finance and restruc-turing segment. “Online sales by omnichannel retailers are growing ro-bustly, but aren’t accelerating enough to match Amazon’s torrid sales growth. There is little reason to believe this trend will reverse, despite the efforts of traditional retailers.”

That said, FTI predicted that online retail sales will reach $562 billion by 2020, with online market share reaching 21%, excluding the low penetra-tion category of grocery. This growth trajectory will result in a near-doubling of online market share by 2026, the report said.

“Consumers’ shopping patterns have evolved, and it’s not just during ‘event days’ such as Cyber Monday. Most shoppers are completely com-fortable purchasing goods online every day from any of several personal devices,” Hart said.

Considering that 90% of shoppers made an online purchase in the past three months, according to another FTI report, “Online, Offline or Both, Shoppers Call the Shots 24/7, “We expect [consumer] migration to the online channel to continue over the next decade, particularly given the findings in our recent article on omnichannel and customer preferences,” she added.

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California grocer to open new natural foods format

BY Marianne Wilson

Raley’s will unveil a new natural foods grocery store concept in spring 2017.

Called Market 5-ONE-5, the new format will debut in downtown Sacramento, Calif., and is described as a farmer’s market concept, with fresh products delivered daily. It will be operated independently of Raley’s, according to The Sacramento Bee. A press release about the new store quoted Raley’s CEO Michael Teel, but identified him only as “owner.”

“I want to go back to the basics and create a store that is reminiscent of a neighborhood corner market but with a focus on nutritious food at a fair value,” stated Teel. “Market 5-ONE-5 will be an unpretentious, inclusive and straightforward shopping experience.”

According to the release, the new concept is built on three core values: Organic, Nutrition and Education (ONE).

The store will feature curated product that will encourage wholesome eating. Products will be sourced to meet the highest quality standards, minimally processed, organic (when available), sustainably sourced and free of elements not found in nature.

The new store is being designed in partnership with Stafford King Wiese Architects.

Raley’s operates approximately 125 stores in Northern California and Nevada.

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