OPERATIONS

Survey: 90% of retailers to offer some form of free shipping for holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington — Free shipping offers will abound this holiday season, according to Shop.org’s eHoliday survey conducted by BIGinsight. Nine in 10 (89.7%) retailers plan to offer some form of free shipping for online shoppers. When asked which promotions they will emphasize most heavily during the holiday season, 37.5% plan to offer free standard shipping with conditions (e.g. minimum purchase), and three in 10 (30.0%) will offer free standard shipping without conditions.

In addition to free shipping offers, retailers will impress holiday shoppers with promotions that include coupons, limited-time only deals, and discounts on specific purchases. Nearly half (47.5%) said they plan to heavily emphasize promotions that offer discounts that include a specific percent off their purchase and12.5% plan to offer coupons with select dollars off their purchase. Additionally, nearly one-third (32.5%) said they would offer limited-time only promotions.

Those looking to get a head start on their shopping lists won’t have to wait too much longer for those free shipping deals: three in 10 (30.0%) online retailers said their free shipping offers will start earlier than last year.

Many companies now offer free shipping options every day of the year. Specifically, when asked when they would launch their first free shipping deal of the holiday season, nearly one-quarter (23.1%) said they already offer free shipping year-round. Of those who don’t, 26.6% said they would launch their first free shipping promotion by Halloween, and by Thanksgiving – more than three-quarters (76.6%) of online retailers will have offered the promotion.

When asked why they would be more inclined to shop online this holiday season, nearly four in 10 (38.4%) shoppers said 24-hour convenience is a main reason, and more than one-third (35.0%) said they specifically choose to shop online because of free shipping. Additionally, 33.1% say they don’t care for holiday crowds in stores and 29.6% prefer the ease of being able to compare prices.

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Best Buy in management shakeup; U.S. unit head to leave

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Best Buy on Wednesday announced major changes to its leadership organization. The company is removing the senior-most layer of the U.S. operation is being removed; resulting in what it called “a leaner structure intended to improve the company’s agility.”

“One thing I have learned in helping turn companies around is that a business needs to have a nimble organization,” said Best Buy president and CEO Hubert Joly. “Our new organization will help build a closer connection to our customers and front line employees, as well as accelerate our transformation.”

Effective January 1, 2013, Best Buy’s operations in the U.S. will be structured around the following groups:

  • Two channels — Online and Retail: While online continues to be overseen by Stephen Gillett, president of digital and marketing, Shawn Score is appointed to lead the U.S. retail channel.
  • Three business groups — Connectivity, Home and Services: Jude Buckley is promoted to head the Connectivity Business Group, succeeding Shawn Score, while Home and Services will continue to be led respectively by Mike Mohan and George Sherman.
  • Support functions, including human resources, finance, legal and marketing, where there are no leadership changes.

In this phase of Best Buy’s transformation, these groups will report directly to Joly.

The current president of Best Buy’s U.S. business, Mike Vitelli, will retire from the company at the end of the fiscal year. He will work closely with Joly to ensure a smooth transition. Executive VP of U.S. operations Tim Sheehan will leave the company at the end of the month.

The channel and business group changes will be effective on January 1, 2013, as Best Buy focuses more immediately on the holiday selling season.

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Wal-Mart centralizes compliance and legal issues

BY Staff Writer

New York — Wal-Mart Stores said on Wednesday that various staff groups involved in compliance and legal issues will soon all report to its general counsel, Reuters reported. The move comes as the retailer works on coordinating efforts after an alleged foreign bribery scandal.

In a memo sent by CEO Mike Duke, the retailer said that starting on Dec. 1, its compliance, ethics, investigations and legal units will become one organization under executive VP, general counsel and corporate secretary Jeff Gearhart.

Jay Jorgensen will become Wal-Mart’s senior VP and global chief compliance officer, reporting to Gearhart. Most recently, Jorgensen was with the Washington, D.C., law firm Sidley Austin.

Wal-Mart also said on Wednesday that it has already spent more than $30 million on updating its global foreign corrupt practices act and anti-corruption compliance program.

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