TECHNOLOGY

One Click Retail: Amazon feels the love on Valentine’s Day sales

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The week leading up to Valentine’s Day is a crucial sales period of the year — especially for some of Amazon’s gift categories.

A report by One Click Retail looked at how traditionally popular Valentine’s Day categories fared on Amazon to last year. Chocolate saw a big increase, with sales up about 35% year-over-year (YoY) in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, compared to 2017.

Amazon is also having a great year for flowers, with sales nearly double compared to 2017. Jewelry, the leading Valentine’s Day category on Amazon for years, is seeing less of an increase, with a growth rate of only about 9%.

“Valentine’s Day is just one of the year’s tentpoles, acting as a strategic opportunity for brands to reach a broader audience and convert curious consumers to your brand,” said Nathan Rigby, VP at One Click Retail, and Danny Silverman, CMO at Clavis Insight. “By understanding why and how your audience shops – and why and how Amazon directs them to any given item – you can keep them coming back to your brand holiday after holiday and year after year.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Report: Walmart’s weapon of choice in its war with Amazon—the cloud

BY CSA Staff

A discount giant has found a way to narrow the gap with its online rival, Amazon.

Walmart hopes to take on Amazon in its e-commerce war by crunching almost limitless swathes of customer data in-house. Its weapon of choice: six giant facilities, or “server farms,” that connect to the cloud, according to CNBC, which cited Reuters.

According to the report, each facility is larger than 10 football fields, and the initiative took millions of dollars — and nearly five years — to build. However, efforts are starting to pay off as Walmart’s online sales have been on the rise for the last three consecutive quarters — far outpacing wider industry growth levels.

While most retailers rent the computing capacity they need to store and manage such information, Walmart opted for an internal cloud network, one that mimics Amazon’s use of cloud-powered big data to drive digital sales. The discount giant hopes this configuration will translate into larger portion of online shopping wallet share, the report said.

To read more, click here.

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TECHNOLOGY

Sam’s Club launches free shipping—and overhauls membership program

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Sam’s Club is making changes as it looks to compete head-on with rivals Amazon and Costco.

The warehouse club chain is rolling out free shipping on “most of the items” sold online, including nearly every Member’s Mark private-label item, with no minimum purchase required, the retailer said in a blog on its website. The news comes one month after the retailer abruptly closed 63 stores, and said some of the shuttered locations would be turned into fulfillment centers.

Sam’s Club also added that its efforts will be supported by tighter supply chain operations. The company is on track to open its first e-commerce fulfillment center in Memphis, Tennessee, with the first packages expected to ship in early spring.

Looking ahead, the retailer plans to bolster this network “in the back-half of the year,” with more distribution centers. Other regions being considered for fulfillment centers include Texas, Central Florida, the Mid-Atlantic, Southern California, Chicagoland, and the Northeast.

“Our Memphis center will teach us a lot as we build out this new e-commerce supply chain,” Jamie Iannone, CEO, SamsClub.com and executive VP of membership and technology, said in the blog.

These new distribution centers will be augmented by up to 12 of the closed locations that will be converted into regional e-commerce fulfillment centers.

Sam’s Club is also “simplifying” its membership structure. Going forward, there will be two levels of membership: Club and Plus. Club (formerly Sam’s Savings) will be $45 a year, and Plus will be $100 annual fee. The company is also lowering the fee for additional Club memberships to $40.

These rates take a direct hit at Amazon, which charges $99 a year for its Prime membership. However, Sam’s Club’s new shipping program does not offer free two-day shipping.

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