TECHNOLOGY

Report: Online giant revamps try-before-you-buy service

BY CSA STAFF

Five months in, Amazon is already taking steps to improve its new Amazon Wardrobe service.

Amazon Wardrobe, which was introduced in a beta test in June, entitled shoppers to try out clothes at home for a week before paying for their order. Now the company is altering how discounts work and how many items can be ordered, according to ReCode.

For example, initially, Amazon allowed customers to order between three and 15 items to try on at home without a commitment to buy. The maximum has been lowered to 10 items, a move that suggests too many customers were taking advantage of that threshold, but not keeping enough, the report said.

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TECHNOLOGY

Adobe: Online holiday shopping gets a jump-start in November

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Online customers aren’t waiting until Black Friday weekend to put a dent in their holiday shopping.

Between Nov. 1-11, ending on Veteran’s Day, online spend surpassed $1 billion in online spend (compared to only nine of 11 days in 2016). This puts spending on pace to hit a total of $13.9 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, part of Adobe Experience Cloud.

Besides tracking 1.8% higher than predicted, November’s online spend to date is at a 19.8% year-over-year (YoY) increase, compared to a 4.8% YoY increase in 2016. This was likely due to last year’s presidential election and steeper product discounts in 2017, according to data.

Specific to Veteran’s Day, total online sales came in at $1.3 billion, 9.1% growth YoY. While mobile traffic and revenue on the rise, desktop sales are slowing. When looking at traffic share by device, smartphones are at 44% (28% YoY), desktop is 46% (-19.1% YoY), and tablets are 10% (15% YoY). When considering share of revenue by device, smartphones encompass 24% (40% YoY), desktop has 64% (-13% YoY), and tablets are 12% (12% YoY).

Meanwhile, conversion rates across all devices saw double digit growth. Desktop hit 4.6% (21.7% YoY), tablet comprised 4.1% (12.3% YoY), and smartphones encompassed 1.8% (16.2% YoY).

Regardless of the channel customers use to place orders, deep discounts are likely motivating shoppers early in the season. The top selling kids toys include Spin Master Hatchimals, PJ Masks branded items, Hasbro Baby Alive, Nintendo’s Switch and Super Mario Odyssey, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 4.

Top selling electronics include Apple AirPods and laptops, Samsung tablets, as well as Lenovo, Dell and HP laptops. Revenue from smartphones is on the rise at 24% of purchases, up 40% YoY; while conversion rates for smartphones also saw double digit growth at 1.9% (up 16.2% YoY).

However, these discounts are impacting sales volume. Specifically, sales of TVs are down 10.8% since Oct. 1; computers dropped 5%, and toys are down 9.8%, according to data.

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Alibaba’s Singles Day shatters records

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Not only did Alibaba Group’s Singles Day smash its own record, its volume exceeded the combined U.S. sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The 24-hour shopping extravaganza, held on Nov. 11, brought in $25.3 billion in sales (or gross merchandise value) to Alibaba’s platforms, up 39% compared to 2016. Sales settled through Alibaba’s Alipay accounted for 90% of total GMV. A total of 1.48 billion transactions were processed by Alipay in the entire 24 hours.

More than 140,000 Chinese brands and 60,000 international brands participated in this year’s Singles Day event, a move that encouraged 225 countries and regions to complete transactions throughout the day. The top countries selling to China included Japan, United States, Australia, Germany, South Korea.

Overall, 167 merchants each generated more than $15.1 million in sales. Meanwhile, 17 merchants surpassed $75.4 million in sales, and six merchants surpassed $150.9 million in sales.

Alipay processed 1.48 billion total payment transactions, up 41% from 2016. The network processed 256,000 transactions per second at peak. Meanwhile, Alibaba Cloud processed 325,000 orders per second at peak, and Cainiao Network processed 812 million total delivery orders.

The first delivery arrived 12 minutes and 18 seconds after midnight, according to Alibaba.

To boost excitement — further blend the online and offline experiences — Alibaba created “smart stores” that featured virtual browsing, shopping tours, virtual fitting rooms, payments and deliveries. Specifically, the Chinese online giant turned 100,000 physical shops around China into “smart stores.” Goods perused by people at the stores, but then bought and paid for on Alibaba’s platforms, were added towards the sales total, according to CNBC.

“More than $25 billion of GMV in one day is not just a sales figure,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. “It represents the aspiration for quality consumption of the Chinese consumer, and it reflects how merchants and consumers alike have now fully embraced the integration of online and offline retail.”

Merchants involved in the event expected to distribute an estimated 1.5 billion parcels over the next six days.

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