Posts Taged shopping

More Online Stores add Bricks and Mortar Presence

 

All through 2017 and even into the beginning of this year we are learning of bricks and mortar stores closing.  Household names like Sears and Macy’s have seen many store closures and you could be forgiven for thinking that the long talked about demise of the bricks and mortar store is finally here.  Will 2018 be it?  No.

The numbers reported by Forrester and the National Retail Federation show a different picture, with more brands planning to open stores rather than close them this year. The best examples of these are stores that used to be ecommerce pure-play stores such as Warby Parker and Amazon.  These stores have realized that a physical presence helps to build their brand and increase market share both online and offline.

As retailers continue to evolve they are looking for ways to integrate both the digital and physical world and new ideas keep showing up in our in-store shopping experiences.  Self-checkout is becoming more and more common, and buy online and pick up in store is a great way to get people into the store to browse for more products.

Landlords are also taking notice, and realizing that many of the online stores that are just testing the waters in the bricks and mortar world will not want to sign a 10-year lease until they know they’ve got the selling formula right, have started to offer short-term leases or even pop-up store locations and the concept of the “anchor” tenant is probably long gone.

The list of etailers who have made the decision to go brick-and-mortar continues to grow – look out for these at your local mall – Bonobos, Casper, Untuckit… if they are not already  there, it’s just a matter of time.

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Google Shopping Ads No Longer Available on Some Platforms

Google Shopping ads have continued to grow over the past few years with retail marketers spending 36% more on these ads during the third quarter than they did in the same period a year earlier.

However, today is the day that Google will no longer make the Google Shopping ad integration available to Bigcommerce, Prestashop and Magento store merchants, and once again store owners are having to change their business practices to fit in with new rules introduced by Google.

Store owners for these platforms were sent an email in February advising them that their ecommerce platform API integration with Google Shopping ads would be ending on March 20.

The API integration is going away in order to focus on other integration solutions with the goal of offering a more seamless onboarding experience for Google Shopping ads. The API connected a merchant’s catalog of products with the Google Merchant Center in order to create the Shopping ads, whereas the new method involves retailers exporting their product data into a feed and then manipulating the feed to adhere to Google’s feed specifications.

The logic behind this is that Google is hoping to improve the data that is sent to the Google Merchant Center as the data will be more uniform as it conforms to Google’s specifications, whereas the data that merchants sent via the API was simply the data that merchants’ displayed on their own websites. The website data was not usually optimized for Google Shopping with titles, for example, excluding a great deal of the salient information that shoppers were searching for.

Those who were relying on the API integration will now have to find a new way to export their product data into a feed and this may, or may not, turn out to be a problem for retailers in the long run. There are also several free and third party apps that can fill this gap for merchants of these three platforms.

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GTIN Requirements for Google Changing May 2016

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As most retailers probably know, in an attempt to improve the user’s experience online,  Google is expanding the requirements for GTINs in May 2016.  This should help people understand more clearly the product being sold.

If you sell new, manufactured products online and don’t have the correct information associated with your products via a GTIN, you should probably check the Google requirements. If the data is incorrect, this will impact your ability to sell with Google ads and affects thousands of online sellers.

Warnings started being sent to online merchants in February advising them to update their product data if the GTIN was missing or incorrect.

After May 16, 2016 merchants will begin to receive item-level disapprovals and will need to meet Google’s requirements in order to continue serving ads for products.

May 16, 2016 is the deadline, so if you haven’t considered your UPC’s and the new Google requirements yet, visit Google’s support center for more information.

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Meet us at the San Diego Apparel Show

sports shirts in store

 

We will be at the San Diego Apparel Show, March 9 and 10, 2015 being held at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center.

Stop by our booth #104, and learn how xocbox image and management system can help you get your products on line fast.

We will also have Show Specials for retailers and suppliers.

Come see us at:

xocbox, Booth 104
San Diego Apparel Show
Town & Country Resort and Convention Center
500 North Hotel Circle
San Diego, CA 92108
 

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Black Friday Week or Month?

holiday shopping picture

Last night I purchased something from a local Banana Republic store, and at the checkout I was given a coupon called TGI(B)F which said “Early Access to Black Friday”, and had discounts I could use from November 24 through November 27.

The sales associate cheerfully told me that if I couldn’t deal with Black Friday shopping, I could shop early from Monday 24th.

I also read an article saying that Walmart plans to make it Black Friday week.  Walmart’s Black Friday begin at 12:01am on Thanksgiving and will include five days of sales online and in their physical stores, taking us through Cyber Monday.

It looks like many retailers such as JC Penney, Staples, Macy’s and Target are planning to open on Thanksgiving  – with some as early as 5pm.

Retailers are increasingly aware that shoppers are turning to the web to shop at times that suit them, not retailers, and Black Friday has become symbolic with the start of the holiday shopping season, not necessarily the one day for the best bargains.

With shoppers researching prices online, and checking spot sales in bricks and mortar stores, the 2014 holiday shopping season is going to offer bargains for weeks to come.

So don’t worry about rushing out the door to bargain hunt, as soon as you’ve eaten your turkey dinner – retailers will surprise us with flash sales right through the holiday season, and the best bargains may appear as we draw closer to the end of December.

 

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Do You Need Omnichannel Retailing?

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Most retailers know that being able to offer their products online is an essential part of their marketing strategy, rather than an option.

However, a recent report by comScore revealed that 173 million people in the US now own a smart phone, and are using this device to check emails and text messages all day long.

They are also using it to shop.

As retailers, whether we like it or not, omnichannel retailing is here to stay, and marketing-savvy retailers have been making sure their websites are mobile-optimized, and ready to offer features and services to customers during the holiday season, so they don’t miss out to the shopping giants and big-box stores.

So what can you do to get your store up to speed?  Omnichannel retailing really means that all the places where your customers can buy … physical store, online via desktop, smartphone, ipad or tablet … work together seamlessly for your customers.

Put yourself in the position of your customer and try to buy something from your own store through all the channels that you offer.  How was the experience?  Did you get smoothly to checkout?  Were there frustrating delays or screens that didn’t display correctly, or not at all?  Once you have pinpointed the sticking points, get your tech team and staff to iron out the issues.

You have probably already figured out your holiday marketing campaign, but research is showing that email is still a favorite by many retailers.  In the study mentioned above,  it was found that 42 percent of emails sent were opened on smartphones, and an additional 17 percent opened on tablet devices.  So definitely make sure your site is mobile optimized.

Follow the lead of large bricks and mortar stores, such as Staples,  who are aggressively using email campaigns to drive customers into their stores, and tempting them with a series of coupons and special offers.

Keeping in close contact with your customers through all devices will be key this holiday season, and those who don’t will lose out on precious holiday sales to retailers who have planned their omni-channel strategy to create an excellent customer experience at all of their store touchpoints.

If you would like information on omichannel retailing for your online or bricks and mortar store, contact info@xocbox.com.

 

 

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