TECHNOLOGY

Study: The top-selling categories on Prime Day were…

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon’s 36-hour mega-sale not only brought in record sales, it also underscored the online giant’s fight for dominance in home improvement, grocery and private label.

Amazon previously said it sold more than 100 million products on Prime Day. New data from Profitero sheds light on which categories shined brightest during the event.

Analyzing eight categories in the U.S., Profitero found that Amazon’s sales nearly tripled during Prime Day, compared to average daily sales the week leading up to the event. Not surprisingly, electronics was the clear winner with sales spiking 215% on Prime Day versus sales for an “average” day.

More surprising, however, was the lift seen in the home improvement category as sales surged 200% higher than normal. Some brands saw sales grow by 30 to 40 times or more. The five brands that saw the biggest Prime Day boost: #1 Etekcity; IgotTech; #3 Nexx; #4 GunVault; and #5 GerberGear (+2,718%).

Amazon’s growing focus and promotional efforts this Prime Day on everyday household products — such as beauty, grocery and pet — didn’t go unnoticed either. Beauty sales increased by 186% and pet sales went up by 134%. Grocery sales more than doubled (+108%) on Prime Day compared with a typical day.

Other key findings from Profitero’s study:
Amazon aims to put Alexa everywhere: Amazon’s deep discounts on its own brand electronic gadgets paid off big, further extending the reach of its voice-assistant platform. For example, sales of Amazon’s Alexa-integrated Cloud Cam shot up 1,386% (15 times  higher than normal) on Prime Day when it was offered at $59.99 (half off the regular price of $119.99). Another bestseller — Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote — had a 306% sales lift.

•Amazon’s private label push pays off:  Amazon’s private label Wag dog food rocketed up the best-seller ranks in the U.S. following a 30% discount on all 5 lb. bags. An even heftier 40%-off could be had for shoppers who signed up for subscribe & save — a crafty way to hook customers after the trial incentive.

By 2pm EDT on July 17, Amazon owned the “Amazon’s Choice” badge for dog food. These findings show just how serious Amazon is about penetrating some of the highest-velocity consumable categories.

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TECHNOLOGY

TechBytes: Three tips to survive last-minute back-to-school frenzy

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

School may be back in session in some parts of the country, but the back-to-school shopping frenzy is far from over. In fact, 77% of parents said they planned to wait at least three weeks before school begins to start shopping, according to the National Retail Federation. (On the East Coast, school doesn’t start until after Labor Day.)

As retailers eye their share of what NRF estimates will be $82.8 billion in back-to-school sales, they should make sure their store shelves are stocked, last-minute deals are in place, and fulfillment options are optimized to attract last-minute shoppers. Stores that can’t keep pace will only drive shoppers into the arms of competitors — and risk not having them return later.

Here are three tips to attract last-minute back-to-school customers— and bring them back for future visits:
•Boost marketing efforts with location-based data. With the back-to-school season looming, location intelligence data can help brick-and-mortar retailers strategize and execute more efficient, better performing market campaigns that drive in-store visits. By leveraging a mobile device’s location, retailers have a new tool to deliver personalized, real-time content about marketing campaigns and promotions.

Meanwhile, companies can use consumers’ location patterns to map the offline consumer journey, and gain more actionable insights on consumer behavior, purchase intent and brand affinity.

•Tighten inventory management cross-channel. Retailers kicked off the back-to-school season in late June with well-stocked store shelves — both physical and virtual — that featured the hottest apparel, school supplies, electronics and dorm essentials. Fast-forward two months, and last-minute customers are playing beat the clock to grab the same back-to-school essentials. And they expect to find merchandise in-stock, and available for pickup or delivery.

During this zero hour, retailers need to ensure integrated inventory management systems can provide information about merchandise availability at store-level, as well as across digital channels. They also must share accurate order status updates with customers, ensuring them that they will have all the supplies on their list.

•Offer more fulfillment options. With the first day commencing in mere weeks, time is of the essence. That means only enabling customers to make a purchase in-store or shop online and have items delivered to their home won’t cut it. Instead, customers will opt to shop with retailers that offer multiple fulfillment options that will enable them to get their purchases faster, and when they are ready to receive them.

These include more buy-online-pickup-in-store programs, ship-from-store services, even curbside order pickup programs. For example, Walmart is making everything available for buy-online-pickup-in-store, and school staples are also eligible for the company’s Online Grocery Pickup shopping service. Further, a majority of back-to-class items are also available for free two-day shipping on orders over $35 without a membership fee.

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TECHNOLOGY

Exclusive CSA Webinar: ‘Retail’s Point of No Return’

BY CSA Staff

Doug Stephens, one of the world’s leading retail and consumer futurists, will take center stage in a special webinar on Thursday, August 16, 2 p.m. EDT. Stephens, whose clients include Walmart and Google, will share actionable insights on the realities facing retailers in the new era, and also outline the five biggest hurdles they need to overcome in order to truly reinvent their customer experience.

Register now for this highly visual and fast-paced Webinar, sponsored by Chain Store Age and Century Link, which will offer a compelling view of a future in which every aspect of the retail experience is being radically transformed. For more information and to register, click here.

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