TECHNOLOGY

PayPal’s Venmo wallet is now accepted at 2 million U.S. retailers

BY CSA STAFF

Retailers across the nation are giving mobile shoppers another way to pay for purchases.

Starting this week, Venmo customers can shop on their mobile phone and make purchases at brands that accept PayPal. Customers can shop at retailers including Lululemon, Forever 21, and Foot Locker, among others, using their Venmo balance or linked credit or debit card, or bank account.

Throughout the program launch, Venmo customers will receive a notification in their app inviting them shop. Eligible purchases made with Venmo also qualify for purchase protection — a service that may provide a full refund if customers don’t receive an item or it’s significantly different than the description, the company reported.

“Offering a way to pay at millions of retailers is a major step in the evolution of Venmo,” said Bill Ready, COO of PayPal.

“Our vision for Venmo is to not only be the go-to app for payments between friends, but also a ubiquitous digital wallet that helps consumers spend wherever and however they want to pay, regardless of device,” he said. “Through 2017 and beyond, we will continue to evolve the payments experience that has helped make Venmo a cultural staple, while also applying that same magic to split, share and pay in new ways.”

Retailers will also benefit by accepting Venmo. Specifically, they will expand their brand recognition through Venmo’s social media feed. As customers share transactions on the company’s social platform for example, it gives brands more exposure than a PayPal purchase would, according to Tech Crunch.

Another benefit for retailers is that the Venmo addition doesn’t require extra integration work within their websites. Instead, PayPal is leveraging its platform architecture to enable Venmo as a payment method, Tech Crunch added.

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TECHNOLOGY

Electronics e-retailer positions new automotive product category as shopping destination

BY CSA STAFF

Newegg is bolstering its business offering with a new product category — one that is on pace to grow 30% this year.

The electronics e-retailer introduced its new automotive product category on its business-to-business website, NeweggBusiness.com — a marketplace available in more than 50 countries. While Newegg has sold automotive products for many years, this marks the first time this merchandise is grouped under a single category.

The e-retailer describes its newest category as an “automotive marketplace” where B2B customers can find and purchase products critical to their automotive businesses. The category offers more than one million stockkeeping units (SKUs) across a wide range of automotive products focused on vehicle maintenance, tools & equipment, electric vehicle supply equipment, as well as industrial & agricultural products.

Improved site navigation and category presentation helps customers to find the products they need. Customers also have the option of purchasing products individually, or in bulk at a discount.

The company also plans to continue growing the category as new vendors sign on to the platform.

“Automotive and technology customers are becoming more similar each day as tech continues to push today’s automotive market,” said Danny Lee, Newegg’s CEO. “We find there’s a growing contingent of our B2B customers who source products for their businesses. We’re here to serve those customers with our new automotive product category.”

Automotive products sold via NeweggBusiness increased at a rate of 30% year-over-year – a growth rate expected to increase in the coming year through the new category destination, Newegg said.

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TECHNOLOGY

Accenture: Shoppers less likely to shop on Black Friday, Cyber Monday this year

BY Marianne Wilson

Year-round bargain buying may be taking some of the urgency out of shopping for discounts on peak holiday shopping days this year. Year-round bargain buying may be taking some of the urgency out of shopping for discounts on peak holiday shopping days this year.

That’s according to Accenture’s 11th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey, which found 52% of respondents less likely to shop on Black Friday this year, 50% less likely to shop on Thanksgiving and 42% less likely to shop on Cyber Monday. And while several indicators, including other holiday surveys, predict holiday spending to increase, only 33% of respondents in the Accenture study said they plan to spend more money on holiday gifts this year, down from 44% last year.

Approximately two-thirds (64%) of those who said they don’t plan to shop on Black Friday cited the crowds of people competing for bargains as the reason. Another reason for the expected drop in shopping during the peak holiday shopping days: year-round bargain buying. Sixty-four percent of consumers said they shop for holiday gifts throughout the year, with the rise of constant discounts like deal websites and Amazon Prime Day. And 44% cited the ability to get equally good discounts other days of the year as one reason they’re less inclined to shop on Black Friday.

“Given the rise of constant discounts and promotions on sites such as Amazon, consumers are doing more of their holiday shopping year-round, and this is proving to be the biggest competitor to the traditional peak holiday shopping days,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s Retail practice. “Smart retailers are taking a longer-term view of the season. Rather than just striving to win new sales through ever-lower discounts, they instead see the holidays as an opportunity to define their purpose, engage in a way that is memorable and be clear about the role they will play in shoppers’ lives both practically and emotionally.”

In addition, consumers said they plan to do 54% of their holiday shopping, on average, online this year rather than in person at the mall or other brick-and-mortar stores (46%).

In other key findings from the Accenture survey:
• In terms of delivery, consumers prefer free over fast. Respondents were more than 10 times as likely to say they’re willing to wait longer for their items to be delivered for free than to pay an additional cost for immediate delivery (53% vs. 5%).

• The price of gasoline is the main factor negatively affecting consumers’ holiday shopping spend this year, cited by 37% of respondents – double the number who cited that factor last year (19%). Rising food prices was cited next-most-often.

• Consistent with last year’s survey, U.S. shoppers will be doing lots of research before making holiday purchases this year. Three-quarters (76%) of respondents said they will likely ‘webroom’ – i.e., shop for a product online before purchasing it in a retail store – and 79%) said they plan to ‘showroom.’ In addition, 84% said they check Amazon.com before looking or buying elsewhere.

• One-third (34% ) of respondents said their holiday gift-buying this year will include ‘experience’ gifts — such as for restaurants, cooking classes, travel, concert and theater tickets.

• More than two-thirds (71%) of respondents said they plan to purchase gift cards this holiday season, spending an average of $42 on each gift card.
Accenture’s Standish noted that, with the rising popularity of ‘experience’ gifts, competition for wallet-share is shifting from rivals in the retail industry to new competitors in other industries, such as travel.

“This makes it even more imperative for retailers who want to grow — or even just maintain — their share of wallet to enhance and improve their customers’ shopping experience, whether through improved technology or the addition of new services,” she said.

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