MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Staples celebrates Black Friday all week

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. – In addition to opening stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Staples is extending Black Friday sales the entire week of Nov. 24 through Cyber Monday on Dec. 2.

The retailer’s Black Friday promotions include online daily deals changed on a daily basis, trade-in/trade-up technology recycling programs that give holiday shoppers cash toward to the purchase of a new product, and free shipping for members of the Staples Rewards loyalty program and on all purchases of more than $45.

“At Staples, we’re making it easy for shoppers to find the perfect gift with amazing deals leading up to Black Friday through Cyber Monday,” said Alison Corcoran, senior VP of North American stores and online marketing, Staples. “Staples provides more ways than ever to shop this holiday season, including our new Staples.com online storefront, in store with our knowledgeable associates, new Staples.com kiosk or at the Holiday Center.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Hudson’s Bay Company improves print promotion ROI

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto — To help increase profitability, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) launched a promotion optimization initiative in Canada to improve the ROI of its flyers, or newspaper ads. HBC worked with Saferock to develop the solution, which uses sophisticated analytics to analyze millions of records each week.

This Big Data solution calculates the incremental profits and sales resulting from each additional dollar of investment. The secret to success lies in the advanced statistical algorithms from Saferock that accurately estimate baseline sales and the ROI due to the current promotion. Results are then delivered to merchandising, marketing, and company executives in near-real time.

“Hudson’s Bay and the Saferock team collaborated to develop a tool that provides virtually real time analytics on flyer productivity,” said Ashley Whicher, VP of marketing at HBC. “The promotional optimization tool developed by Saferock has enabled our teams to measure the efficiency and productivity of the marketing investment on a weekly basis.”

Chain Store Age’s interview with Whicher appears in its October edition.

“We shed light on promo performance for every SKU and category,” said Shah Karim, CEO of Saferock. “Sales IQ keeps everyone aligned and on the same page. Our goal is to turn internal management meetings from debates into enlightened discussions, and this is what is happening.”

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FINANCE

Survey: Online retailers divided on impact of Marketplace Fairness Act

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – Online retailers are divided about the impact of the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) legislation, largely based on company size. According to a new McGladley LLP survey of decision-makers at small and mid-sized online retailers, 38% of small and mid-sized online retailers with revenues between $10 million and $1 billion project that the MFA would have a negative impact on their profitability.

However, while 50% of executives at companies with annual revenues between $10 million and $50 million project negative impacts on profit, the number drops to 22% for executives at companies in the $150 million to $1 billion range. Smaller retailers said they fear the MFA’s passage would impact their profitability, while larger retailers indicate they are not as troubled.

There is widespread awareness of the legislation among decision-makers in the small and mid-sized segments; overall, 96% of those surveyed reported being familiar with the MFA. However, 70% of respondents who reported being part of internal discussions about the legislation at their companies were in the lower revenue range.

The survey suggests that less than 40% of small and mid-sized online retailers expect to be hurt significantly by the law, but 43% of all respondents said they were either somewhat or very likely to consider terminating some online sales in response to the MFA, and nearly all (98%) said they would pass along increased compliance costs to the consumer.

"These results make clear that the potential impacts of this legislation are wide-ranging and highly complex," said Dustin Petersen, a partner with McGladrey. "While small and mid-sized companies are understandably concerned about losing a competitive advantage and incurring higher compliance costs, those on the higher end of the revenue range appear to see this as somewhat of an equalizer, as they feel that they have been disadvantaged by charging state sales tax and burdened by the disorganized array of systems through which they have had to do so."

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