TECHNOLOGY

Walmart goes upmarket in fashion partnership with Lord & Taylor

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The quest to take on Amazon is making for some strange bedfellows.

Walmart announced that Lord & Taylor will launch an online “flagship store” on Walmart.com that will offer premium fashion brands directly from the department store retailer. It is expected to launch in spring 2018.

The partnership, which had been rumored for weeks, comes as Walmart continues to push deeper into premium apparel and to target a more affluent customer base. It gives Lord & Taylor the opportunity to expand its online reach — with a company whose digital capabilities keep growing.

“Our goal is to create a premium fashion destination on Walmart.com,” said Denise Incandela, head of fashion, Walmart U.S. e-commerce. “We see customers on our site searching for higher-end items, and we are expanding our business online to focus on adding specialized and premium shopping experiences, starting with fashion. ”

Walmart said it will be adding “elements of discovery and inspiration” with regards to how people shop on the site. It will feature a dedicated Lord & Taylor store icon on Walmart.com and the Walmart app — a move that will expose the department store brand to more shoppers than it currently does through its brand’s online store.

“As retail continues to change, this flagship store creates enormous growth opportunities for Lord & Taylor and our brand partners,” said Liz Rodbell, president of Lord & Taylor, which is owned by Hudson’s Bay Company. “Walmart.com is a shopping destination that reaches a wide base of customers looking for premium fashion brands. They are a great company for us to work with as we continue to grow our digital presence.”

The partnership could also be a stepping stone for an even bigger project: the opportunity to establish Walmart.com as an online mall, according to a recent report in Fortune.

Lord & Taylor is a good fit for the potential operation, as it also complements the discount giant’s recent acquisitions, Bonobos, ModCloth, Moosejaw, ShoeBuy and online retailer jet.com — all of which could also be featured in the virtual mall.

The strategy rivals similar operations run by Amazon and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which both offer dedicated space to brands on their websites. Such arrangements allow companies to increase traffic to their e-commerce platforms and let retailers boost their online assortments.

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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.

To read more, click here.

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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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