Brick-and-mortar retailers badly want to tap into Facebook's 500 million users. Retailers realize that for a growing number of Facebook users, it's no longer just a website. It's a new platform, one of the "big new disruptors" in the online world, according to experts assembled at this week's Shop.org annual retail technology summit in Dallas.
Aside from its impressive sales figures, the iPad already has found its way into our culture, making appearances on hit TV shows, in popular YouTube videos and in White House policy meetings. With this much momentum, what kind of an impact might the device have on retailers? We'll see much more innovation in the year ahead, but here are three early signs of the iPad’s expected impact in retail:
Posies Cafe signed up with Groupon several months ago. If Groupon could promise to deliver a certain minimum number of customers, Posies would sell them $13 worth of products for $6. Nearly 1,000 people bought the Groupon in the one day it was advertised, swamping the small coffee shop for three months. Posies' owner said that the volume of sales coupled with the steep discount threatened her business, forcing her to spend $8,000 of her personal savings to pay her employees and the rent.
Barneys New York, Gap, Coach and other big brands are collaborating with bloggers to create new and controversial forms of advertising for a more social age.
What a difference a deal makes. Groupon launched its first nationwide deal, $25 off a $50 purchase at Gap. The promotion, which was available in every city, briefly crashed Groupon’s servers as deal-happy consumers clicked on the 50 percent discount and pinged their friends.
Piperlime has raised the ire of some of its Facebook fans with a series of cheeky — or "snotty," according to detractors — wall posts last week. The Gap brand began posting updates on Facebook and Twitter such as "Every time you wear sweatpants in public, a single guy leaves New York" and "Let's put Saturday-night effort into Sunday afternoon." While some fans found the posts entertaining, even applauding Piperlime for attacking sweatpants, others were enraged.
The second half of the year is off to a slow start for retailers, who reported Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year were weaker than expected in July, increasing 2.9 percent from July of last year, according to a tally by Thomson Reuters.
Back-to-school spending may rise as much as 16 percent in the U.S. this year, reversing year-ago declines and putting more muscle behind the economic rebound. Families with students plan to spend about $55.1 billion in the period, compared with $47.5 billion a year earlier, the National Retail Federation said, citing consumers surveyed by BIGResearch.
More than 450,000 people filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, as joblessness continued to hamper the U.S. economy and other new economic indicators reflected mixed signs about the recovery. The number of people filing new unemployment claims has fluctuated between 450,000 and 500,000 a week since January, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Although that is down from last year, it remains an indication of ongoing weakness, economists said. Other new figures showed that consumer borrowing fell again in May, suggesting that Americans remain nervous about the economy. June retail sales jumped 3 percent, though some analysts noted that
Already sold online, Athleta — owned by Gap Inc. — will open a 2,424-square-foot test store at Strawberry Village Center in Mill Valley, Calif., later this month, according to the company.