U.S. warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale said it would open an online store in China using Alibaba Group's fast-growing Tmall online marketplace, entering the country's booming e-commerce market to combat slowing sales at home. Costco said the online store would provide customers in mainland China with both branded products, which would initially include food and healthcare goods, and also products under its Kirkland Signature private-label business.
In the near future, D-to-C selling will be an imperative for manufacturers hoping to compete and grow brand loyalty. Those not offering online shopping invite brand skepticism, if not scorn, among consumers who visit a site only to find that the shelves are bare. The cost is more than a one-time sale lost; it can mean brand degradation that inflicts long-term damage on a manufacturer's fortunes. With concessions to retail partners and the right technology, manufacturers will be well on their way to meeting the D-to-C mandate.
Costco has been a remarkably successful player in discount retail over the last several years, and the company has outgrown competitors such as Wal-Mart and Target by a considerable margin. But investing is about the future, not the rearview mirror, so investors need to analyze if the company can continue outperforming on a forward-looking basis. Interestingly, there are some reasons to believe Costco should continue getting stronger over time. When comparing Costco versus other mass-merchant retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, the difference can be truly remarkable. Costco has done much better than both
Is that television-size box of graham crackers at Costco really a better deal than a standard box at Wal-Mart? Soon, online consumers won't have to do the math to figure it out. Some of the country's largest supermarkets and drugstores have agreed to display prices by unit of measurement, as well as by item, on their websites and mobile apps, to help shoppers slice though the confusion that sometimes arises from different packaging and discounts. Major retailers including Wal-Mart, CVS and Costco have agreed to the deal.
Growing his e-commerce business from $5,000 in sales in year one (2008) to $27 million in sales five years later, Josh Neblett, co-founder and CEO of Etailz.com, which operates three e-commerce websites — GreenCupboards.com, ecomom.com and everyCasa.com; a soon-to-launch site, coybeauty.com; a brick-and-mortar store in the company's hometown of Spokane, Wash.; and etoolz, a division focused on developing proprietary software solutions and tools, is well schooled on what it takes to grow a business from startup to thriving operation. Neblett shared those insights yesterday at a session at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. Here's a list of his five things bootstrapped e-commerce businesses should do, followed by five things they shouldn't do:
For a retail company with a profoundly simple business model and interior layout, there always seems to be interesting Costco secrets floating around the internet. How many rotisserie chickens does Costco sell in a given year? Hey, did you know that Costco sells caskets and really pricey bling online? So as a means to join this Costco cult underworld of facts and figures, Belus Capital Advisors CEO Brian Sozzi has dug through his notes on the company compiled through seven years of client coverage.
Last year, Groupon's CEO Eric Lefkovsky said that his ambition was to make the e-commerce company's Goods business more like Costco, not Amazon.com. Yesterday, the company announced it's launching a new business called Groupon Basics — offering discounts on home goods to compete with warehouse-based bulk-buying clubs — that will bring it one step closer to that idea. As an expansion of the online e-commerce portal Groupon Goods, Groupon Basics is a discounted, bulk-shopping service for home goods. Starting with household, personal care and health products, the plan is to expand to canned and packaged groceries in the next few months.
Weighing the revenue generated by subscriptions against the cost of shipping, Amazon.com has clearly lost money on Prime. And let's be honest: Prime isn't about the Kindle lending library or the on-demand videos; it's about the fast, "free" delivery. So it's no surprise that Amazon's recent announcement of a price increase for Prime was welcomed by investors, who foresee improved margins in the coming years. Retailers should treat the announcement as good news too. Why?
Atop the list of highest rated CEOs for 2014 is Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn with a 100 percent approval rating, and then Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg closes out the top 10 with 93 percent approval rating. There's been some movement since last year's, Top 6 Highest Rated Retail CEOs, with quite a few more retailers finding their way into the rankings, including J.Crew, eBay, Costco and Bath & Body Works. Interestingly, a
Sam's Club and Amazon.com deliver the best customer experience in the retail industry, according to the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings, an annual ranking of companies based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers. Sam's Club and Amazon continue their reign as the highest-rated retailers for the third straight year, each earning an "excellent" rating. Sam's Club narrowly beat out Amazon for the top spot, receiving an 81 percent rating and an overall rank of eighth out of 268 companies across 19 industries. With ratings of 79 percent each, Costco, PetSmart, Ace Hardware and BJ's Wholesale Club also earned high marks.