Read original story on: TechCrunch
It looks like online sales got off to a good start in the U.S., with Thanksgiving topping $1 billion and Black Friday passing $1.5 billion — respectively, a growth of 32% and 26% over 2013, according to early numbers from comScore. As online retailers use Cyber Monday to extend the post-Thanksgiving holiday sales rush, further growth in Ecommerce is expected this holiday season.
The good news for online sales, however, might come at the expense of subpar brick-and-mortar performance, as sales across physical stores for the past four days are down 11% to $50.9 billion from year-ago $57.4 billion, based on a new National Retail Federation report.
With the rise of ecommerce, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing increasing challenges from the digital stores. But national chain store Macy’s is staying ahead of the market with two power moves that make shopping more personalized and convenient for its customers across platforms.
The first step it took was embracing beacon technology. Macy’s announced that it is expanding the use of Shopkick-powered iBeacons to all of its stores nationwide over the next 2 months, just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. When completed, it will be the largest beacon installation in retail history, and provide Macy’s customers with highly personalized, interactive retail experiences.
Furthermore, the retail mainstay announced plans to offer same-day delivery service later this fall, effectively eliminating one key advantage of its digital retail competitors. Online shoppers in eight selected markets would soon have a consistent and convenient cross-platform shopping experience, whether on the web stores or mobile apps of Macy’s and its upscale subsidiary Bloomingdale’s.
As we pointed out in our recent POV on multi-platform shopping, successful retailers integrate points of sale to create a consistent customer experience, which is exactly what Macy’s is trying to achieve here. By embracing the beacon technology and on-demand economy, the 156-year-old retailer shows its strength in adapting to the changing market.
When it comes to online retailing, Yahoo might not have the same clout as Amazon or eBay. But that doesn’t mean it has stopped trying. In fact, it has quietly unveiled a revamped version of Yahoo Stores that is specifically targeted at small retailers, which puts it in direct competition with similar platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace, Etsy, and Weebly. To stand out, Yahoo clearly needs to leverage its other existing online resources into better assisting small retailers build customized online storefronts.
For years, Amazon has been dominating global ecommerce by being the “everything store” of Internet. But one thing has been notably absent from Amazon’s offerings: services. Sure, you can buy customized 3D-printed toys from Amazon with just a few clicks, but you can’t use it to schedule a plumber to come and fix your toilet. That may be about to change.
According to Reuters, Amazon is reportedly closing in on the local services market that includes everything from handyman work to childcare. Its established infrastructure and existing relationship with online shoppers would make it a strong contender in local service market.
NY-based start-up Keep is aiming to take a bite out of Pinterest by introducing OneCart, a universal shopping cart that works across different online stores. This new feature on the Keep shopping platform (web and mobile) is designed to work as a unified storefront enabled with one-click cross-platform check-out. Disappointedly, the function is not powered by an automated purchasing system, but instead relies on manual labors of its employers to finish the orders for their users one by one. While a universal check-out function definitely has its potential, as fewer payment hassle could facilitate more sales. But the way that OneCart is currently operating is not exactly sustainable if it grows in scale. Sooner or later, the company will need to figure out a better solution to offer the e-shoppers a seamless online retail experience.