TECHNOLOGY

Amazon extends delivery, pickup service to more Whole Foods locations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Even more Whole Foods Markets customers can now take advantage of Amazon’s online delivery options.

The online giant on Wednesday said it has launched free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods through Prime Now across Annapolis, Maryland; Cleveland, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; North and Central New Jersey and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It will also be expanding into more areas across New York City, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The program offers Prime members two-hour delivery for free and ultra-fast delivery within one hour for $7.99 on orders of $35 or more. The service is now available in 53 cities, according to Amazon.

In addition, the online retailer now offers its grocery pickup service in Whole Foods Markets stores operating in Louisville; Dayton, Ohio, and Omaha, Nebraska. The service enables Prime members to pick up their order at a local Whole Foods Market store within an hour — without leaving their car.

Customers can choose free pickup within an hour on orders of $35. A $4.99 fee applies orders ready within 30 minutes. Including these cities, the service is now available in eight markets. More cities will be added throughout 2018.

Amazon’s curbside service takes a swipe at rivals Walmart and Target, as well as supermarket operators, including Kroger, Publix and H-E-B, which also offer drive-up grocery pickup options.

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TECHNOLOGY

This holiday message creates the biggest conversions

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Emails highlighting Cyber Monday make shoppers want to spend.

This was according to the “2018 Holiday Guide” from Yes Lifecycle Marketing, which revealed that Cyber Monday emails sent in 2017 generated the highest average conversion rates (purchase per click) among all holiday emails (9.8%).

Despite generating a nearly 16% lower engagement rate (12%) than business-as-usual (BAU) emails (13.9%), Cyber Monday campaigns were almost twice as effective in converting clicks to purchases. Even though over half (53%) of Cyber Monday emails were sent on the day of the event, they drove a 12.7% conversion rate, the highest of any other day marketers deployed Cyber Monday campaigns.

Offers included in the email subject line also had a significant impact on the performance of Cyber Monday campaigns. Emails promoting “percent off’ discounts in their subject lines generated an average conversion rate of 18.1%, while messages that didn’t include a specific offer in the subject line drove only a 3.8% average conversion rate.

“Shopping events like Cyber Monday have become table stakes for marketers looking to maximize revenue during the holiday season, but the competition for customer attention and share of wallet is stiffer than ever,” said Jim Sturm, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “To cut through the noise, marketers must evaluate factors such as day of the week performance, themes and offers and tweak their Cyber Monday campaigns accordingly.”

Conversions also dropped off sharply for emails sent in the days following Cyber Monday. In fact, 8% of all Cyber Monday emails were deployed on the Tuesday following the event. While they generated an impressive 16.2% open rate, these messages promoting a one-day extension of the Cyber Monday sale only drove a 2.7% conversion rate, suggesting shopping fatigue, underwhelming offers or other barriers to purchase.

Additional findings include:

• Green Monday, the second Monday of December, was the least utilized campaign theme (leveraged by just 7.1% of marketers). Yet, Green Monday emails generated the third highest engagement and conversion rates among all messages, outperforming conversions for standard emails by 35%.

• In 2016, Black Friday emails sent on the Tuesday before the holiday generated just a 2.5% conversion rate, while in 2017 they drove a 9% conversion rate, reflecting a shift in marketers’ strategies around the event – from making savings accessible earlier in the week to offering limited qualities of popular items and emphasizing the limited time frame for accessing these offers.

• For Thanksgiving emails, click rates were highest (17.1%) for messages sent on Wednesday, while open rates (18.3%) were highest for those sent on Tuesday, as many brands moved to send themed emails on Thanksgiving Eve with last-minute previews for upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

• While open rates for Christmas emails increased by 22%, conversions dropped by 30% YoY, likely due in part to marketers adopting a value-add approach that focused on nurturing engagement and eschewed offers in the subject line.

“Shopping events like Cyber Monday can be a boon for marketers,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “To make the most of these holidays, drive meaningful engagement and generate revenue, marketers need to utilize intuitive technology to identify consumers’ shopping behaviors and preferences and rely on data-savvy services teams that can translate this data into a cohesive, results-driven holiday marketing program.”

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CSA Exclusive: Online startup Olivela uses luxury fashion to empower girls

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A hot new luxury retailer is using its partnerships with high-end designers to educate and change the lives of girls worldwide.

Founded online in June 2017, San Francisco-based Olivela takes the notion of retail philanthropy to a new level. Selling apparel, jewelry, accessories and beauty from such luxury brands as Valentino, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo, and Dolce & Gabbana to name a few, the retailer donates 20% of each purchase to charity partners dedicated to supporting education for girls.

What’s more, Olivela lets shoppers directly connect with the end result by doing the math for each piece of merchandise on the site. A $395 metallic pleated skirt from Marc Jacobs, for example, pays for 10 days of school for Syrian refugees (provided through partner Care), while a $3,890 Max Mara cost provides for 113 days of school.

“We launched with a dozen luxury brands, and now feature 225 of the world’s best brands,” said Stacy Boyd, founder and CEO. “Our partnership with the brands is what makes all of this possible.”

Olivela is not Boyd’s first foray into retail. A parent and former school principal, she parlayed her career in education to launch a number of successful ventures. These include the Academy of Pacific Rim, a charter public school in Boston, as well as Project Achieve, an educational information management system startup. She also launched Schoola, an online retailer that sells gently-worn clothing to support schools in need.

The idea for Olivela evolved during a trip Boyd took to Africa in 2016, to celebrate Malala Day — the birthday of Malala Yousafzai, who was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people, as well as her work supporting children’s rights to an education. During the trip, Boyd met girls in makeshift primary schools located in refugee camps in Dadaab and Mahama, and was inspired.

“At one point, I took out my camera to take a photo of some of the girls and looked at my [designer] bag,” she explained. “That was when I knew that we could unleash the equity in luxury shopping to yield benefits and opportunities for so many children around the globe.”

“During the trip, it became increasingly clear that while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not,” she added. “I knew that I could draw on the experience and expertise from having launched Schoola, which aims to benefit public schools here in the United States.”

It was from that realization that Boyd began developing a retailing experience with “giving back” built into every transaction. Once the evolving company’s social mission was in place, Boyd needed an equally meaningful name —one that highlighted the company’s philanthropic ideals. For Boyd, the perfect moniker was a mash-up of the words “olive” and “vela.”

“The olive tree represents growth and wisdom, and vela is the Latin word for ‘sails of a ship,’” she explained. “Overall, Olivela helps set children forth on the right path in life.”

To date, Boyd added, Olivela has provided over 41,000 days of school to at-risk girls through all four charities.

To ensure it maintains loyalty among its shoppers, the company also price matches merchandise. Eligible items must be identical, from the same designer, and in-stock on a designated U.S.-based competitor’s website, according to Olivela’s website.

Participating brands ship all merchandise to Olivela’s warehouse in Columbus, Ohio, a practice that ensures that product is authentic. Some pieces are also exclusive or limited edition items that may only be available for short timeframes and thus, not restocked when they sell out. Olivela currently ships merchandise to customers across all 48 continental states.

STORES: Eager to reach an even broader audience, the company opened its first pop-up boutique in June. The 900-sq.-ft. store, in Nantucket, Mass., features a curated assortment of 950 items from top designer brands, as well as hosted trunk shows and beauty events. The location, which also accepts returns of online purchases, also makes its standard donation from each sale to its children-based charities.

“Nantucket’s vibrant business community combined with the stylish and socially conscious residents and visitors, was the perfect setting to launch the retail side of our business and further make a real impact in the lives of girls around the world,” Boyd said.

The pop-up, which will remain open through October, also sparked a partnership with the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Through its sales, Olivela made donations that provided over 19,000 hours of life saving dialysis, she added.

The store’s success has spurred the company to open 15 new boutiques through 2019. The first will open on Dec. 5, in Aspen, Colorado.

Olivela also plans to broaden its assortments, as well as charity partnerships.

“We are excited about extending Olivela into more categories and evolving the cause partnerships, both in depth and specificity,” she added. “We will continue to bring on new brands, as well, fulfilling our promise to make Olivela the ultimate philanthropic retail destination.”

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