FINANCE

Stock compensation drives Twitter Q1 net loss

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Stock compensation expenses helped produce a net loss of $132.4 million at Twitter Inc. during the first quarter of 2014, compared to a net loss of $27 million in the same quarter of the previous year. Twitter attributed part of the net loss to $126 million in stock compensation expense.

Revenue more than doubled to $250.49 million from $115.34 million. For the second quarter, Twitter projected revenue of $270 to $280 million, and also projected revenue of $1.2 to $1.25 billion. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo cited growth in engagement and users as helping to boost revenue.

"We had a very strong first quarter,” said Costolo. “Revenue growth accelerated on a year over year basis fueled by increased engagement and user growth/ We also continue to rapidly increase our reach and scale. With the integration of MoPub, we now reach more than 1 billion iOS and Android users each month, making us one of the largest in-app mobile ad exchanges in the world and the only one at scale to offer native in-app advertising."

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OPERATIONS

Eyebuydirect launches new e-commerce site

BY Dan Berthiaume

Austin, Texas – Online prescription eyewear retailer Eyebuydirect.com (EBD) has launched a new website featuring with more than 1,200 customizable frames. EBD has streamlined the online shopping experience for prescription glasses with the Eye Try tool, which allows customers to upload a photo of themselves in order to virtually try on any pair of frames available on the site.
Each pair of glasses is adjusted according to the individual’s pupillary distance (PD) and eye alignment.

“We’re pleased to introduce our new website, because it enables consumers to easily navigate and select their perfect pair of glasses from among our extensive collection of customizable frames and lenses” said Roy Hessel, Eyebuydirect founder and CEO. “Our company is vertically integrated in house from R&D and frame design; to merchandizing, customer service and shipping, which enables us to maintain the integrity of our product and services while passing minimal costs on to our customers.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Retailers getting more aggressive in mobile investments as payback grows

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — Mobile (including tablet), marketing and personalization were the top three issues that retailers will devote the most time to in 2014, according to the e-tailing group’s 13th Annual Merchant Survey. Omni-channel and platform rounded out the top five concerns.

"Amazon is nipping at the heels of every retailer. Mobile has materialized as a revenue producing force and customer expectations have peaked, once again altering retailer investment strategies. Choice and prioritization are paramount in the context of this chaotic environment for survival and growth," said Lauren Freedman, president, the e-tailing group, a Chicago-based consultancy.

The survey, fielded in the first quarter to senior executives with omni-channel responsibility, finds that retailers are getting more aggressive in their mobile investments with one in three spending in excess of $100K on mobile. According to the study, mobile accounts for at least 20% of traffic for the majority of retailers; for one-in-five, it is responsible for more than 30% of their business.

“The exciting news is that revenue derived from mobile results sees year over year gains, where 50% of retailers report at least a 5% contribution rate and 32% report at least 10%. The payback is powerful and mobile’s ability to fuel omni-channel access is unprecedented,” the report states.

On the contrary, social has not played out for the majority of retailers: They report receiving less than 2% of traffic from social networks.

In other key findings:

• Sixty-one percent of retailers acknowledge that they are in the early stages of working towards superior online experiences. This is despite the fact that 75% agree that their mobile effort is critical to the growth of the business.

• Three-out-of four retailers will make investments in the customer experience arena while half place an emphasis on technology and responsive design.

• Analytics were once again cited as the No. 1 merchandising tactic (97% rank important) for customer retention. Additionally, given data’s increasing role for maintaining parity in the competitive climate, one in two retailers are evaluating big data to impact marketing despite existing constraints.

• In merchandising tactics, sales/specials/outlets ranked as most valuable, followed by email as a merchandising vehicle, seasonal promotions, keyword search and cross-sells.

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