88 articles

Retail Steamrollers: Power Shoppers and Millennials

Don't get flattened by the competition.

“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you are not part of the steamroller, you are part of the road,” says author Stewart Brand, editor of The Whole Earth Catalog and founder of the Global Business Network. Retailers who do not stay ahead of the technology curve are likely to get flattened.  Consumers are adopting new technologies more quickly than ever […]

The Smartphone Is Changing Retailing for Good

Nearly half of mobile users are using smartphones or tablets to make online purchases. Is your retail company ready for the small screen?

Pocket-sized communication devices seem to be taking over our lives — and exercising our thumbs — more than many retailers realize. “The smartphone revolution is under-hyped…more people have access to phones than access to running water,” says Marc Andreessen, entrepreneur, investor and cofounder of Netscape. In terms of time spent, mobile (i.e. smartphone and tablet) […]

Get Ahead Of Shifting Customer Loyalties

The UPS Industrial Buying Dynamics study provides new insight for reaching today’s customer.

Industrial distributors, take note: Customers have formed new allegiances. The customer loyalty of years past was built on a personal relationship, one that was mutually viewed by distributors and buyers as an ironclad agreement. The comfort of familiarity doesn’t carry the same currency anymore. Instead, customers are motivated by lower prices, how quickly a particular […]

Leveraging a Small-Business Mindset for Long-Term Success

Why smaller companies are ready to thrive in the age of disruption.

We hear a lot these days about disruption. Hardly a day goes by without the announcement of a new disruptive technology. Talk of well-established companies being overtaken by new and nimble startups is commonplace. Large multinational corporations worry if they can move fast enough to respond to the next big thing. But the threat of […]

5 Ways Technology Will Disrupt Commerce

The mobile phenomenon demonstrates how interwoven technology and commerce have become.

In the final flurry of Christmas shopping last year, a buyer in Miami snapped up a new, 18-carat rose-gold men’s Rolex watch for $29,000 on the eBay iPhone app. The watch, which sold at 9.30pm on Christmas Eve and came with free one-day shipping, may have made a welcome last-minute gift for someone. It was […]

Holiday Returns Are Peaking, Too

Retailers don’t have to scale these growing returns peaks alone.

While most of us are busy taking down the Christmas decorations, many others will be returning those wrong-sized or otherwise unwanted gifts. That’s why UPS expects to return more than a million packages to retailers on January 6, 2016. Accordingly, UPS has designated this “National Returns Day,” the year’s busiest day for returns. By the […]

The Power of Visuals in E-Commerce

Visuals stimulate, inspire, motivate and speak volumes to customers — without saying a word.

An ad in the March 10, 1927 issue of the trade journal Printers Ink — promoting the use of images in advertisements on the side of streetcars — used the phrase “One Picture Worth Ten Thousand Words,” and labelled it a Chinese proverb. The writer, Fred W. Barnard, is quoted as saying he “called it […]

A New Day for Shopping in Canada

Canadian retailers must adapt to take advantage of this moment of opportunity.

The day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday, marks the kick-off to the busy holiday season in which U.S. shoppers race to stores in search of the perfect gift at the lowest price. And while American shoppers typically travel just a few miles down the street to snag door-busting deals, Canadian shoppers have quite […]

A Crystal Ball for Online Shopping

How search engine data is forecasting online retail sales for the 2015 holidays.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if as online retailers we could predict what our next shopper from California is most likely to buy from our website – and when they are most likely to make this purchase? Search queries offer valuable insights into shopper intent. Shoppers search and then buy. At NetElixir, using our proprietary tracking technology, we […]

How to Plan for the Shopper of Tomorrow

Global e-commerce growth presents a wave of new opportunities for logistics companies, opening up emerging markets where online technologies have become a part of everyday life.

It is not just how customers search for products online, but where they live, that can provide valuable information about consumer trends. This is data that logistics companies are mining to provide a clearer blueprint for how to thrive in a world where the line between brick-and-mortar stores and digital is increasingly blurred. The rise […]

This Week: Big Data Magic

Humans have had an affinity for data for some time. We like a good bar graph because it tells a story. Although, in my limited research, I’ve been unable to find evidence that pie charts were being used in humankind’s earliest days, former US Senator, Henry D. Hubbard, said this of data in 1939: There is […]

Why Customer Service Begins with Empathy

How compassion became the secret sauce for my small business.

Five years ago, my business fell into my lap. I was living in Chicago, working as a marketing consultant for a variety of clients. An old friend of mine who owned a fish market in Bath, Maine, said he wanted to sell live Maine lobsters and seafood online. I decided to do some research for […]

Finding a Silver Lining in Online Returns

Whether retailers are gearing up for the upcoming holiday season, or doing business as usual, a well-planned returns strategy pays off.

Here’s something flying beneath the radar of the much-publicized growth in e-commerce: Return rates are three times higher for online purchases. And apparel is returned more than 30 percent of the time. The dollars involved are staggering: Of $3.2 trillion in total retail sales for 2014, returns were valued at $284 billion – that’s almost […]

Turning Browsers to Buyers

Using the power of "free" to drive online sales and build loyalty.

In his book Predictably Irrational, behavioral economist Dan Ariely devotes an entire chapter to the subject of “free,” titled: “The cost of zero cost: Why we often pay too much when we pay nothing.” He makes the point that consumers are often irrational about making decisions when they see the word “free.” “Free gives us […]

The Evolving Role of the Store in e-Commerce

Why integrating the online and store experience is the key to retail success.

When it comes to retail, silos are a silent killer. In a siloed organization, those loyal to their own group or division may distrust the motives of others. There may be little or no communication between groups, and a tendency to cling to the status quo. That can lead to missing new revenue opportunities, losing […]

Courting the Customer

Understanding today’s customer can help make the sale

Steve Jobs once noted in an early TED talk, “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards.” Perhaps now more than ever, that is true for those striving to succeed in e-commerce. Understanding what makes customers tick can drive success. After all, double-digit growth in both B2C and B2B e-commerce means there’s […]

Delivery on Demand

Convenience and control: shoppers want it all

For a growing number of consumers, delivery has become the first – not last – concern as they make their online shopping decisions. New research from UPS and comScore reveals that delivery options are increasingly important in creating satisfied online shoppers and are even driving purchasing decisions. Today, winning in retail is about providing convenience […]

Think Local, Shop Global

Online consumers want to shop the world. Are e-tailers ready?

Right now, consumers want to shop the world. Shoppers are purchasing in stores, on PCs and from smartphones and tablets, buying goods locally and from other continents in a few clicks. They want what they want, when they want it, whether it be a purchase from a local store in Omaha or from a boutique […]

Five Lessons from my Small Business Journey

The founder of Pete's Paleo shares five lessons he learned as an entrepreneur.

“Why don’t you start a small business?” That’s the question my wife Sarah asked when I searched for inspiration with my career. It’s the question that put us on our path to becoming small business owners. If you’ve ever been fed up with your daily grind, and considered pursuing your own dreams, you probably know […]

Customer-Centric Delivery

How empowered consumers are forcing supply chains to adapt.

To seize the opportunities created by the boom in eCommerce, retailers, manufacturers, and logistics providers alike have all taken steps to make their supply chains more customer-centric. The moves make sense. As globalization made it easier for companies to tap into new markets – and conversely, enable consumers to shop the world through online channels […]

The Rise of Consumer Spending

A look at consumer spending across the world's top 750 cities.

Cities are becoming increasingly powerful centers of economic activity. As more young people move to cities – and the demand for sophisticated labor increases – more wealth will be concentrated in these urban areas. These changes are only expected to accelerate over the next decade. In fact, Oxford Economics’ Global Cities 2030 report forecasts that […]

Retail on the Go

A look at the world of shopping in your purse or pocket.

Smartphones have become such a part of our daily life that most of us can’t imagine even a few hours without one. New research from UPS and comScore reveals that the rest of the world is just as attached to their mobile devices – and even more reliant on a smartphone when it comes to […]

Building Philanthropy into the Business Model

A women’s apparel company is empowering its customers to reduce world hunger, one blouse at a time.

In 2014, The World Bank committed $8.3 billion to make food more available and affordable in impoverished communities around the world. This effort and others by NGOs and large multinationals are extremely generous. But the enormity and complexity of the problem mean they are not enough. According to the United Nations, one in eight people […]

Promoting Crowdfunding in Europe

Could crowdfunded start-ups restart the European economy?

The rising financing gap for SMEs as well as high growth firms is a serious concern for financially-fragile Europe. These firms, particularly young innovative firms, are the drivers of job creation and economic growth, much needed to break through the economic malaise across Europe. The curtailing of bank lending over the past several years due to […]

The Consumer-led Revolution

How social and mobile media are shaking up retail.

It’s interesting how phrases from the pioneering days of the retail industry have stayed with us. Well over a century ago, Marshall Field said: “Right or wrong, the customer is always right.” R.H. Macy added: “Be everywhere. Do everything. And never fail to astonish the customer.” Neither could we have known how literally those statements […]

“We’re only in the second inning.”

Mobile commerce is big. But we've just scratched the surface.

To say that mobile has become big isn’t news anymore. With smartphones now packing as much processing power as the supercomputers of yore, mobile devices have become our phone, our watch, our camera, our TV — and increasingly, our wallets. But what’s truly remarkable is this: We’ve only scratched the surface in what smartphones can […]

The Rise of the “Flex Shopper”

Shoppers want it all. And they want it fast.

Disruption is the buzzword in business these days. Everywhere we look – from computing and mobile communication, to energy, transportation, and manufacturing – we see technology breaking business models in ways that require alert analysis, often-dramatic innovation, and aggressive risk management. Retail e-commerce rose 13% in 2013, to $211 billion, a heady growth rate that […]

Retail Without Boundaries

Omni-channel retailing is upending the way consumers shop and interact with their favorite brands. In response, retailers must redesign their supply chains to meet growing customer expectations in a new retail world without limits.

Supply chain innovation comes in two iterations: reactive and proactive. Reactive innovation is a response to change, including change that an organization didn’t see coming. Proactive innovation is a catalyst for change. When a leading organization gains a competitive advantage through proactive innovation, the rest of the market has to react just to keep pace. […]