The digital consumer is turning conventional marketing wisdom on its head. This fundamental shift in the way that consumers connect with brands means that retailers must evaluate how to create meaningful connections. It used to be that relationships were forged by friendly face-to-face conversations in brick-and-mortar stores. Now, those consumer connections are happening across various channels — telephone conversations, e-commerce websites, mobile devices, blogs, social media sites, in-store.
J.C. Penney announced it will celebrate Black Friday with its only sale of the year. The retailer said more than 1,100 J.C. Penney stores will open their doors at 6 a.m. on Black Friday to offer low prices on gifts for the entire family — with no coupons or rebates required. Associates throughout the store will be equipped with mobile checkout devices.
Driven by consumers’ demand for greater access to information, offers and payment functionality anytime, anywhere, through any type of device, the lines between in-store commerce, e-commerce and mobile commerce are blurring. In this emerging environment of "universal commerce," the altered payments ecosystem clearly presents both challenges and opportunities for retailers. Therefore, it's absolutely crucial to prepare now for increased store traffic and sales opportunities during the holidays.
Toys"R"Us is now offering customers the ability to shop online and pay for their purchases in-store, giving them the freedom to use cash or check, as well as credit, to make the purchase. Shoppers who use the Pay In Store option have 48 hours to visit their nearest store to complete the purchase. When paying in-store, customers must bring a copy of the order confirmation email to any register or display the email on their smartphone to make their full payment.
Online retailer Amazon will no longer be Arizona's duty-free store. Amazon noted in its latest SEC filing that it's going to start collecting Arizona sales tax on purchases in the state, which currently stands at 6.6 percent. This change comes after quite a bit of complaining from state-level authorities about Amazon skirting the sales-tax in Arizona.
Apple's Passbook virtual wallet application is being upgraded to support purchases in the retailer's stores, according to reports. The app currently allows users to store digital boarding passes, event tickets and gift cards in one place. Several companies, including Starbucks, Target and American Airlines have integrated Passbook into their customer-facing operations. Later this month, Apple stores’ point-of-sale system upgrades will allow employees to process payments via Apple gift cards loaded on the app. Future developments may include a full integration of iTunes users’ associated debit and credit cards.
Although most merchants have made a concerted effort to fight e-commerce fraud, their methods are largely ineffective against fraudsters and off-putting to consumers, according to a new survey conducted jointly by card-not-present (CNP) industry news source CardNotPresent.com and e-commerce stabilizer SignatureLink. The SignatureLink SecureBuy 2012 CNP Fraud Study, conducted in August and September, polled 379 online and offline merchants of all sizes about their anti-fraud efforts.
J.C. Penney appears to have returned to a practice it once condemned: couponing. At the bottom of the latest of Chief Executive Ron Johnson's increasingly frequent emails to customers, J.C. Penney offers a "gift": a barcoded offer for $10 off customers’ next purchase of at least $10. "We can't wait for you to see the new and improved jcp," the promotion says.
Wal-Mart and American Express are teaming up on a reloadable prepaid card for shoppers. The two companies said Monday that Bluebird, a reloadable prepaid card which began during a pilot program late last year, will have no minimum balance and no monthly, annual or overdraft fees. The companies say the only fees associated with the card will be transparent and within the user's control, such as out-of-network ATM withdrawals by consumers who don't have direct deposit.
A horse is a horse, of course, of course … unless it's a model for American Apparel, in which case it's half a horse. Our friends at Photoshop Disasters spotted this equine error on American Apparel's website. The image, ostensibly advertising the retailer's line of lace apparel, features a blonde girl cradling a horse's head that seems to be leading to nowhere. (Ugh, you're going to have to return that horse back to the horse store now.)