TECHNOLOGY

Study: ‘Meaningful messaging’ is a must to spur holiday spending

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers need relevant deals if they want to break through the “noise’ and engage with shoppers this holiday season. Retailers need relevant deals if they want to break through the “noise’ and engage with shoppers this holiday season.

According to research from Valassis, customers are doing thorough research before beginning their holiday shopping, and this means they are looking for relevant deals across channels. With 41% of value-seeking consumers using an equal mix of print and digital coupons, retailers must use meaningful messaging if they want their wallet share this holiday season. This requires companies to integrate online and offline data and use analytics to precisely target their most valuable shoppers.

“Marketers, both manufacturers and retailers alike, realize the holiday season will make or break their success for the year,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis.

“The key to success lies in activating the right consumers with precise targeting – knowing the right audiences to engage with, the right offers to serve up and when and where to strike,” he added. “Brands and retailers can break through the holiday noise by using online and offline data to step up their targeting game and win this shopping season.”

The following steps will help retailers engage with their most valuable customers this holiday season:

Consider both past purchases and current intent: Reach shoppers in the market for clothing, electronics, toys, gifts, games and other categories by utilizing insight about their previous purchase habits. Begin messaging in advance of the holiday season with specific offers and suggestions for gift giving.

Understand your audience: Reach consumers based on their interests, online media consumption, frequency in visiting specific retailers and demographics.

Embrace the power of proximity: Leverage real-time location to reach consumers within the vicinity of your stores and establishments. This is key for small businesses to tap into local shoppers and drive last-minute purchases with limited-time offers.

Tap geo-location data: Message known, qualified consumers who live, work or travel near your location or that of competitors, which can help when promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

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TECHNOLOGY

British online fashion giant launches same-day delivery in London

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Asos is making merchandise deliveries in what feels like “an instant.”

The British online fashion giant introduced Asos Instant — a same-day delivery option for its customers in London. Specifically, the program serves customers residing in any of London’s 122 ZIP codes. Customers that place orders before 10 a.m., Sunday through Friday will receive merchandise between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. the same day.

The service fee is £12.95.

“Asos has a history of innovation in our use of technology, our trend-setting fashion, and in the best-in-class delivery and service propositions we offer our customers,” said Matt Rogers, delivery solutions and returns director, Asos. “We are excited about the introduction of Asos Instant and will continue to explore new options that add convenience and choice for Asos shoppers.”

The company is already planning to expand the service to other major cities in the U.K. “over the coming months,” according to Asos.

This is the latest service to be introduced by the company in the last 12 months. Among its other newly introduced services include next-day delivery, the availability of 9,000 click-and-collect locations around the U.K., one-hour deliveries and free returns, Asos said.

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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Amazon’s consumables sales on the upswing in Q3

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Already experiencing steady double-digit growth, Amazon’s sales of consumables ramped up significantly in the third quarter of 2017.

According to new research from One Click Retail, Amazon’s sales of consumables, including health and personal care (HPC), grocery, beauty and pets, grew by an average of 80% across the United States, U.K., Germany, France and Canada, with the beauty and pets groups both doubling in size.

“This rapid growth will continue to gain momentum as more brand manufacturers focus on Amazon as a sales channel and Amazon continues to make big investments in consumables, such as its recent purchase of Whole Foods,” Nathan Rigby, VP of sales and marketing at One Click Retail.

Across all five countries, HPC was the largest of the four product groups, accounting for more than a third of Amazon’s total consumables sales. The largest growth rates again took place in the smaller markets of Canada and France. However, in Amazon’s most developed markets – the U.S. and U.K. – growth continues to increase, rising from 30% in Q1 and 40% in Q2 in both countries to 49% and 46% respectively, in Q3.

Baby care and nutrition remain the largest categories overall. Interestingly, the top category in most countries is nutrition, and the leading items across all countries are diapers and paper products.

“This is in part because there is a very wide variety of vitamins and supplements available in nutrition, which keep the sales for individual items relatively low for such a strong category,” said Rigby.

Online sales of beauty products have always been a challenge. Traditionally, because the cosmetics industry relies so heavily on experiential retail, high-end brands would focus on specialized brick-and-mortar outlets, and Amazon would only be a destination for inexpensive, mass market cosmetics. This remains a factor, as skin care is the leading category in four out of five countries, but the tide finally seems to be turning.

Prestige products were the fastest growers in both the U.K. and Germany, and two of the major growth categories in the U.S. were luxury cosmetics (69% growth) and luxury skin care (37% growth). In Canada, luxury skin care earned $300,000 in Q3. This was a far cry from the $25 million earned by the category in the U.S., but more than double the sales over the same period in 2016, the report said.

Sales are rising steadily across grocery, thanks to the company’s Amazon Fresh category, which generated $90 million in sales in the U.S. It’s also consistently growing at an average of 3% per week during the quarter. Half of fresh sales were split between dairy products and produce, followed by meat (including deli meats and seafood) with 18% of sales.

While it is still early, Rigby anticipates that Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods to make a major impact on Amazon’s grocery category going forward.

Meanwhile, coffee and beverages remain the top categories across the board, and in all countries, many of the top items include coffee pods. However, the major growth driver in the Germany and the U.K. was spirits.

The pet category has always been driven by food, and it’s no different in Q3. Pet food and feeding supplies continues to be the fastest-growing category in both the U.S. and France, where it makes up two thirds of total product group sales. Pet Food now ranks as the top category in all five countries.

“Emerging e-commerce categories, such as spirits and luxury cosmetics, are capturing more of the buying public and brands adopting Amazon as a primary sales channel are experiencing great success,” Rigby said.

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