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Staples launches Staples Connect

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. — Staples officially launches Staples Connect, an offering that lets customers’ home or office technology interact and be controlled by a single app. With the touch of a button, in-store and online Nov. 27, Staples Connect lets customers shut down their office, turning off lights, lowering shades and locking doors, while at the same time turning on their lights and heat at home.

Staples Connect consists of a multi-platform app and universal hub that allow a multitude of devices to talk to each other. The Staples Connect Hub, powered by Linksys, is available online and in a limited number of Staples stores for $99. Staples Connect uses a platform developed by Zonoff Inc., which features a free, single app. Installation will be available through Staples EasyConnect and can also be performed by customers.

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Antonio Urcelay named chairman of Toys ‘R’ Us

BY Staff Writer

Wayne, N.Y. — Toys “R” Us CEO Antonio Urcelay has replaced Gerald Storch as chairman of the company. Urcelay, appointed interim CEO at Toys “R” Us in May 2013, was officially named chief executive in October.

Storch, who had previously served as CEO, is stepping down as chairman to dedicate more time to his consulting company, Storch Advisors, Toys “R” Us said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It also noted in the filing that Storch’s resignation from the chairmanship was not due to any disagreement with the company.

In conjunction with his departure, Toys “R” Us named Richard Markee to the board. He has served as executive chairman of Vitamin Shoppe since April 2011 and from 2009 to 2011 he served as CEO.

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IBM: Online retailers rely on mobile traffic, iOS devices

BY Dan Berthiaume

Armonk, N.Y. – Online sales on Monday, Nov. 26 were up nearly 12% from the equivalent Monday a year earlier. Data from the IBM Digital Analytics Holiday Benchmark shows that mobile traffic accounted for nearly 32% of all online traffic, up 42% compared to the same period last year.

Mobile sales remained strong, exceeding 13% of all online sales, up 54% year-over-year. While smartphone traffic accounted for 20% of all online traffic compared to tablets at 11%, when it came to making actual purchases, tablet users drove close to 9% of online sales, which almost doubled smartphones users, who drove 4.6%.

As a percentage of total online sales, iOS was more than four times higher than Android, driving 11.06% vs. 2.5% for Android. On average, iOS users spent $108.68 per order compared to $93.36 for Android users, a difference of 16%. iOS also led as a component of overall traffic with 21.93% compared to 9.75% for Android.

Shoppers referred from Facebook averaged $79.12 per order, which was 16.5% lower than Pinterest referrals, which drove $92.18 per order. However, Facebook referrals converted sales at a 2.6% higher rate than Pinterest referrals, which IBM says perhaps indicates stronger confidence in network recommendations.

Supporting these overall trends, the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark also reported real-time trends across four retail categories this holiday season:

1. Department Stores: Monday total online sales grew by close to 72% from 2012, with mobile sales growing by 54% year-over-year.

2. Health and Beauty: Monday total online sales grew by nearly 38% from 2012, with mobile sales growing by nearly 89% year-over-year.

3. Home Goods: Monday total online sales grew by close to 19% from 2012, with mobile sales growing by 34% year-over-year.

4. Apparel: Monday total online sales grew by close to 15% from2012, with mobile sales growing by close to 49% year-over-year.

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