TECHNOLOGY

Happy Returns hits a milestone

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A concept dedicated to in-person returns for online retailers has hit a significant stage in its expansion plan.

Happy Returns opened its 100th Return Bar location. Overall, Happy Returns’ network is set to grow to more than 220 locations by the end of 2018. The company had 50 return locations as of January.

The newest Return Bar is located in Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles. This is the third Westfield mall in Los Angeles, and the eighth Westfield property nationwide, to feature a returns center.

The company also partners with other top mall properties, as well as regional and national chain stores and independent boutiques, a move that contributes to increased foot traffic. There partnerships have enabled Happy Returns to set up returns centers in 18 different metro areas in the United States, including 14 of the largest 15 cities by population, according to the company.

“Our rapid growth and expanding set of location partners demonstrates the utility of our service for all stakeholders in the return transaction,” said David Sobie, co-founder and CEO of Happy Returns.

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TECHNOLOGY

Macy’s loyalty program becomes ‘all-inclusive’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Macy’s is extending its loyalty program to all customers — regardless of how they pay for their purchases.

The department store retailer announced that it is opening up its Star Rewards loyalty program to all customers. The program was previously reserved for Macy’s cardholders.

The program now features four tiers of membership, a new Bronze level, as well as Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers. Customers without a Macy’s credit card are eligible for the new Bronze level, which enables shoppers to earn bonus points on certain days, in addition to other perks, offers, and a birthday surprise.

Macy’s cardholders are eligible for the Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers, depending on their spending. These tiers offer additional perks, including 25% off on any day they choose, and special sale days. Gold and Platinum members are eligible for free shipping, while Platinum members also earn 5% back in rewards on all Macy’s purchases made with their Macy’s credit card.

Macy’s cardholders will be automatically upgraded when their annual spend at Macy’s reaches the next level, according to the company.

The new program coincides with the company’s recent overhaul of its Star Rewards program in September.

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Shoppers generating the highest lifetime sales value are…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Customers that browse across multiple digital environments hold the highest conversion rates — and lifetime value.

Omnichannel consumers continue to shift between devices, environments and walled gardens, or services restricted to digital members, when making a purchase decision. Based on this purchase behavior, multi-screen mobile shoppers are generating the highest lifetime value in terms of sales, according to “Global Commerce Review for Q1 of 2018,” a report from Criteo.

According to data, omnichannel consumers represent a mere 7% of all customers. Yet, omnichannel consumers are responsible for 27% of all sales.

This customer segment is being driven by mobile shoppers. In addition to making purchases while on-the-go, these customers are active across all browsing environments. However, mobile transactions are no longer confined only to mobile websites.

Apps account for over two-thirds (70%) of mobile e-commerce transactions in North America, for retailers with a shopping app. This trend extends across most world regions, as in-app sales dominate.

Almost half (47%) of all consumers in North America prefer purchasing via app, compared to mobile Web (20%) or desktop (33%). In North America, the conversion rate on shopping apps is more than three-times higher than on mobile Web. Globally, in-app transactions have increased by 22% year-over-year.

“Retailers must prioritize and optimize shopping apps, or risk leaving money and revenue opportunities on the table, as mobile transactions are no longer confined to mobile websites only,” according to the study.

Retailers need a mobility strategy going forward, especially as the mobile market continues to mature. The number of sales transactions on smartphone devices grew 22.5% year-over-year, while tablet and desktop usage declined.

The health/beauty and sporting goods industries comprised the highest share of mobile sales at 44% and 43% respectively, beating out other categories such as fashion/luxury, flowers and gifts, and home wares.

With every transaction, these omnichannel customers also share “digital fingerprints” that present an opportunity for retailers to re-engage them on future visits. Matching this online data with offline information is key to unlocking shopper intent and purchasing power, the study said.

For example, omnichannel data is key to optimizing marketing efforts. Retailers that combine offline and online data can apply over four-times as much sales data to inform their marketing strategies.

“[There are] continuing shifts from desktop to mobile shopping, as well as from retailer websites to apps. Today’s shopper is on-the-go and researching across multiple screens, requiring a cohesive, data-driven approach to intersect and influence buying decisions,” said Jonathan Opdyke, chief strategy officer, Criteo. “For retailers with physical stores, app adoption and improved data infrastructure are opening new horizons in omnichannel marketing, with online and offline blending into a seamless and measurable shopping journey.”

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