Apple wants to make holiday shopping easier with the iPad's first-ever retail app, which comes loaded with features to make product discovery more seamless. The Apple Store for iPad is designed specifically for iOS 7, capitalizing on using gestures to find more products from Apple's online store. It essentially wraps up everything currently listed for sale on Apple.com and packages it up in one easy-to-navigate app. Since iPhone users typically use their devices to look up store directions and get information about products quickly, Apple created a different experience for the iPad with deeper swipe, zoom and gesture functionality.
Overstock.com now offers 24-hour flash sales starting at 10 a.m. MST, seven days a week. To power these flash sales, Overstock.com is searching its website for the most popular products in such categories as furniture, area rugs, bedding and electronics, then discounting them for a limited time up to 50 percent. The Daily Deals page shows a running countdown so that consumers know how long the flash sale will last (unless the product sells out first), and provides a sneak peek of upcoming deals.
Just in time for Christmas, Amazon.com and the U.S. Postal Service are teaming to make "every day an Amazon prime delivery day." The e-retailer announced Monday that it will be rolling out Sunday delivery services in Los Angeles and New York to customers who are eligible for free, two-day shipping. In 2014, the service will be expanded to the broader U.S., to include such cities as Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix. For the cash-strapped Postal Service, news of more deliveries for one of the biggest retailers of the internet age can't be that bad.
Holiday decorations have already been on display at retail stores for weeks, spreading the holiday cheer over longer than just November and December. Accounting for approximately 20 percent to 40 percent of retailers’ annual sales, it's no wonder they're making an effort to extend the holiday revenue spirit. In the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers have few options to increase sales volume and revenue without conducting a major overhaul of their digital marketing strategy. They must think strategically about leveraging assets they already have, as well as after the festivities are over.
Kmart will offer lease-to-own financing at stores nationwide this holiday season. The latest addition to Kmart's portfolio of financial services, the lease-to-own program began to roll out at Kmart stores in test markets as of Oct. 15 and will be available in all stores by Nov. 22. Giving customers and Shop Your Way members a no credit-required way to take home the items they need right away, lease-to-own financing will be available year-round for merchandise priced at $150 and over.
China's Singles Day is a strange little holiday created in the '90s by university students who thought the date 11/11 looked like four solitary stick figures. Somehow, it's evolved into the country's largest e-commerce shopping event, with Western brands eager to cash in. And for good reason: Last year's Nov. 11 was so big the transactions overloaded banks, and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba logged $3 billion in sales — two times what U.S. retailers achieved on Cyber Monday. China's e-tailing fest exploded out of nowhere. Alibaba launched the holiday just five years ago with 27 brands.
Gift cards are a tried-and-true strategy for influencing purchase decisions and, as such, have proven to be a lucrative revenue stream for small and big-box retailers alike. Today, gift cards take many forms and represent more than $110 billion in sales. Tomorrow, however, holds something much bigger for retailers with gifting programs. There's a "branded currency" revolution on the horizon; those retailers that can make the transition from a traditional gift card program to a comprehensive branded currency strategy will have the opportunity to increase online and in-store sales, drive new customer acquisition and grow loyalty.
Holiday shopping has certainly changed since the rise of e-commerce and world domination of the internet-connected device. Retail has gone thoroughly multichannel, with shoppers researching, browsing and buying in increasingly diverse ways. Yet the heart and soul of holiday shopping — as well as retail commerce year-round — is still the brick-and-mortar store. In fact, Gartner reports that, even allowing for the increase in revenue from e-commerce, retailers should expect 85 percent of their revenues to come from physical stores through 2016.
MarketLive, an e-commerce platform provider, has released its annual online retailer survey and recommendations for the 2013 holiday retail season. Among the many report findings, MarketLive found that an overwhelming majority of holiday shoppers will respond to retailers’ promotions offering free shipping, and they will ultimately shop with the retailer who can guarantee an on-time delivery date and/or the best shopping experience. The survey sample included 1,000 consumer questionnaires. The report illustrates consumer survey results with tactical examples drawn from promotional campaigns by Nordstrom, Sport Chalet, Sephora, Lowe's, Home Depot, Pottery Barn, REI, Restoration Hardware, Amazon.com, Blue Nile and Francesca's.
Target is getting ready for the holidays with a big multichannel push that includes expanding its in-store pick-up program for products ordered online to all of its U.S. stores by Nov. 1 — a service that's now available in about half of the chain's locations. Target will run an ad campaign Dec. 1 through Dec. 3 that promotes deals during Cyber Monday and the rest of Cyber week. Target's overall holiday campaign, themed "My Kind Of Holiday," will extend across all channels, including broadcast, radio, in-store, catalogs, digital and social media.