Tuesday, July 31, 2012
In little more than two years, the tablet has gone from an early adopter’s “must-have” to an increasingly common device for consumers, even for those who consider themselves less tech-savvy.
Think about it: it was only in 2010 that Apple launched the first iPad, essentially marking the birth of the tablet for the mainstream consumer.
There are now variants from dozens of manufacturers available in the global marketplace, and the number of devices continues to grow as products evolve. According to recent Nielsen surveys, a significant percentage of Americans and Europeans now own tablets.
Nordstrom is quickly replacing cash registers with mobile checkout, joining J.C. Penney, Apple and what's expected to be a rush of other retailers to embrace technology to eliminate lines.
More than 6,000 Nordstrom salespeople are already using mobile devices to check people out, just like at Apple stores. By the end of this year, Nordstrom salespeople will be able to do everything on their handheld devices that they can at a register, says Jamie Nordstrom, president of the company's online division.
"I believe the future of our point-of-sale systems is completely mobile," he says. "It's hard to know whether it's in one year or five years because the technology is evolving so rapidly."
Several grocery stores — Costco and Sam's Club are two — already use employees armed with mobile devices for "line busting," retail consultant Kevin Sterneckert says. The workers scan products for customers standing in lines and print a bar code that they can take to cashiers to pay.
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- Mobile traffic on e-commerce sites doubles in nine months
- 2012 Holiday Outlook Guide Cross-Channel Consistency, Mobile Integration Are Keys To Success
What do you do as a small, independent retailer when a major food chain, big-box store or national franchise becomes a direct competitor? All along you've been specializing in items that aren't in the mainstream but sell well, and then some big outfit like Sears or Walmart decides they're going to horn in on your action.
A perfect example is Kroger, the Ohio-based supermarket chain that recently began offering natural foods inside half of its 2,500 stores, setting aside aisles now designated as Nature's Markets. When this happens, what can you as a specialty retailer do to remain in business and retain your dominance in any niche market?
Your first reaction might be to lower prices in order to compete with the big stores. But that's like bringing a knife to a gunfight. There's no way you'll ever compete on price. Yet there are steps that specialty merchants can take in order to maintain position.
Here's a list of things your business can do to maintain the customers you already have and win even more business when being forced to compete with a national chain; While this debate/article originated in the US, it is reflective of a worldwide trend.
Half of all people who buy products online first go to a bricks-and-mortar store to do their research, according to a recent ClickIQ survey of 900 shoppers. Known as “showrooming,” this habit is taking an increasingly large bite out of retailers’ bottom lines.
That is because in many cases, consumers buy the product for less from an online-only retailer such as Amazon rather than from the actual store or the Web site of the merchant where they just shopped. This trend makes it more critical than ever for retailers to provide an integrated shopping experience across multiple touch points through the path to purchase.
But savvy retailers are already turning showrooming from a problem into an opportunity by using the mobile medium to engage shoppers, educating them about their products, and delivering relevant deals available only in the store.
Increasingly their strategies center around QR codes as an easy way to bring shoppers to a controlled and extremely targeted experience.
Amazon downplayed the idea of same-day shipping on its earnings call today, saying it had not found a way to do it on a broad scale economically.
Several reports have suggested recently that Amazon’s strategy is to move its distribution centers into urban centers, so that it can deliver products to consumers within a few hours after they hit the buy button.
But Amazon’s CFO Tom Szkutak said not to get your hopes up.
“On the topic of delivery speed to customers, we are trying to get closer to customers, but in terms of same-day delivery, we don’t see a way to do same-day on a broad scale at the moment. But we are always trying to figure out a way to serve them [our customers] better,” he said. “We don’t see a way to do that on a broad scale economically.”
While that still leaves the door open a crack, it appears from the company’s second-quarter call that while faster delivery may not make a lot of sense right now, the economics of building more warehouses in more central locations does.
85% of AaramShop deliveries across India (28 cities) are same day deliveries. It is able to do this largely on account of its hybrid retailing format.
at 10:16 AM
Monday, July 30, 2012
Traffic to Google+ has grown by 66 percent worldwide since November, and is up 82 percent in the US in the same time period.
ComScore confirmed the numbers with us this afternoon, and shared the following charts showing US and worldwide traffic to Google+ since the company began tracking Google+ last November. The figures are desktop traffic only; no mobile/tablet visitors are included.
These are positive signs for Google, but the numbers reflect traffic, not specific usage of the service. Google itself has been hesitant (an understatement on my part) to discuss true usage numbers for Google+, instead focusing on counting how many people have “upgraded” to Google+ accounts and discussing how many of these account holders use all of Google’s services.
Still, Google did announce a month ago that active users are spending 12 minutes per day in their Google+ stream — up from nine minutes per day only three months earlier.