Here it is! Point Inside’s weekly round-up of the top articles in retail and mobile for 7.14.16.
Driving customers online also helps physical retailers rationalize the huge investments they’ve made in IT to support their websites and mobile apps. However, incentivizing a store-to-online shopping migration ignores several key points: Customers who shop in stores tend to buy more, partly because they make more impulse purchases. They’re also more willing to buy tactile, “experiential” goods such as apparel, shoes, and makeup. And they’re less likely to compare prices because that’s harder to do in-store than online.
Landlords are nudging out the once-coveted big box chains in favor of sporting-goods retailers, fast-fashion chains, supermarkets, gyms, restaurants, movies theaters and other types of entertainment as they seek to keep their properties relevant in an age increasingly dominated by online shopping.
Retailers say cultivating closer personal relationships with shoppers has become a major strategy as stores try to woo people away from shopping only online while trying to remain competitive with other retailers. Saks, for example, introduced its mobile shopping service last year but only recently started promoting it in Los Angeles. A crew including a store stylist will come to you if you can’t make it into the Beverly Hills store or 12 other stores nationwide, including ones in New York and Florida.
Devices are a major shopping channel, too, with 30% of parents planning at least 25% of their back-to-school shopping on a mobile device. Retailers’ mobile apps are gaining traction, with 47% having downloaded Amazon’s app alone, and 40% of college-bound freshmen parents using at least three shopping apps. 71% of parents plan to use retailer apps before they make a purchase, 66% use mobile apps to compare prices, and 64% use them to search out sales.
While the majority of Gen Z like to shop in stores, close to 75 percent also prefer retailers that provide an engaging in-store experience citing cleanliness, friendly and knowledgeable associates, and a positive checkout experience as their top three preferences.
Serving beer and wine is the latest step in efforts by supermarkets, a famously low-margin business, to make more money by keeping shoppers in their stores longer and getting them to spend more while they are there. Grocers also have been turning themselves more into restaurants, adding extensive prepared-food counters, full-service catering and bustling seating areas where shoppers can grab a quick meal.
Best Buy drove more than one million in-store visits after focusing on mobile to answer customers’ product-related questions via buying guides, video tutorials on YouTube and localized mobile ads. Local inventory ads on Google allow Best Buy to drive in-store traffic by displaying in-stock products nearby that are related to what users are searching on mobile. The ads also provide a function with which users can order online to pick up at nearby Best Buy stores. The in-store pickup functionality increased traffic to Best Buy’s Web site by 44 percent.
Walmart says it will offer free shipping on all online orders for five days starting today in an effort to steal some momentum from Amazon’s second annual Prime Day, which reportedly will offer more than 100,000 deals for members worldwide tomorrow. “This is also part of Walmart’s broader strategy to strengthen its e-commerce business at a time when its online sales growth is slowing.”
Barnes & Noble’s move from textbooks to beauty isn’t as incongruous as it seems. The chain already carried beauty products from drugstore brands like CoverGirl and Burt’s Bees at its campus bookstores, and those were selling well. In addition, Barnes & Noble has a built-in audience for beauty on campus. A lot of college campuses are in areas where there's not a lot of competition. Most freshman don't have cars and transportation on campus to get to the mall.